30 MARCH – 13 APRIL 2024

Artist Statement
Bonnie-Jean Whitlock (b.1992) is a contemporary surrealist painter originally from rural Southeast Gippsland, Victoria. She currently lives and works in Melbourne/Naarm. She is a recent Master of Fine Art graduate from RMIT University (2023) and a recipient of the Evan Lowenstein Arts Management Prize.

Working predominantly in painting installation on repurposed fabric and canvases, Bonnie’s practice explores how we come to feel at home in our environments and bodies. Portraits of her partner, imagery of queer intimacy, internal landscapes, and psychedelia repeat in her work, providing links between her personal life and broader themes of time, love, and the subconscious. She works intuitively in response to her space, materials and mood, embedding paintings into porous fabrics through methods of staining, dyeing, tracing, and masking.

Exhibition Statement
When I first started making the Subterra paintings I was thinking about buried secrets, within me and within the world, in history, and time. However, I’ve come to realise that my painting projects almost always turn into something more convoluted, personal and exposing along the way.

I am interested in the space between the world of feeling and the world of logistics and language. I use symbols from my life as starting points and from there, let my relationship with that thing guide the rest of the painting. Sometimes it’s photos of my partner or people and places that I love, but just as often it’s introspective; things that I fear, loathe, memories, dreams, or impulses. They all have different bodily responses, so I paint them differently; they all have heaviness and light, just arranged differently.

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