The other weekend artist Jon Bunge opened his studio up to the public as part of the Gowanus Open Studios 2018.
I’ve known Jon for many years. His work was always abstract. The black and white pictures behind him are from his early work which also includes colored paintings and collages made with colored papers.
Nowadays he has transitioned exclusively to sculptures that he makes with wood sticks from a variety of trees. All the branches he finds on the ground in nature walks or friend’s gardens after the trees have already naturally shed them.
A great number of Jon’s creations were hanging from the ceiling or protruding from the wall, with the studio lights casting dramatic shadows. For Jon the sculpture’s shadows are nearly as much a part of the complete artistic experience as the sculptures themselves.
Jon needed to leave his studio for a reception at another exhibit of his work. So I minded the store, so to speak, for him in his absence.
Which allowed me to explore his sculptures a bit with my phone camera.
First I tried to capture the overall effect of the assemblage of his pieces and the effect of all their shadows:
Here’s the view from his work desk.
A work of progress on the desk. These are willow branches Jon purchased at a florist shop. Jon explores how particular branches fit together in different ways before deciding which way exactly he will connect them. He will shave bits of the branches off in order to make them fit properly before gluing them together. The white blotches are all spots where Jon shaved off bits of wood. When he is done putting a sculpture together, he will paint over those spots with a color close to the wood’s original hue.
These next set of pictures take a closer view of individual pieces and details of individual pieces, plus the shadows around them:
The shadows by themselves caught my camera eye too:
The next three pics are different shadow silhouettes cast by the same sculpture turning on a string:
Jon is also really keen on how different shadows from different sculptures and light sources interact:
I also turned my attention to the Bunge’s early collages made with colored paper…
…and an even earlier color painting, and how it served as a background for details of two more wood sculptures.
This sculpture also hung from a string, and as it slowly turned, its aspect kept changing:
The piece with the thicker wood branches, casting shadows on the white cube it rests on, stood out even more enticingly in contrast with the colored painting.