New Representation: my art is now available at the Assiniboia Gallery in Regina! They are located at 2266 Smith Street, a vibrant, bustling part of town.

July - October, 2017: A small selection of my work,
courtesy of Darrell Bell Gallery, is available at Boffins restaurant (111 Research Drive, U of S campus).

Sunday, November 19, 2017: Studio on 20th Open Studio Art Show and Sale. The studio where I paint will be open to the public from 11 am - 5 pm on this one afternoon only. Current work by our eleven artists will be exhibited and available to purchase. Please come and bring a friend! We are located at 236A 20th Street West (door to the left of the Odd Couple restaurant); not wheelchair accessible.

Ongoing: my 8x8" original oil paintings are available exclusively at Darrell Bell Gallery located in the Canada Building in downtown Saskatoon. As well, some of my large oil paintings are now available in this beautiful local gallery.

November 10, 2016: I was interviewed by Daily Paintworks as their Spotlight Artist for a week! Read my interview on the DPW News blog!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Bonnie Conly

 
Dance, Dance
L29" x W12" x H17"
welded steel sculpture
© Bonnie Conly

Welcome back to Sunday Spotlight! I am excited to introduce you Bonnie Conly, an artist I met one year ago at none other than the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus. 
I remember arriving on site where I came across a young woman and her mother wandering the path and looking a bit lost.I thought how nice it was that the mother had made the drive with her daughter to get her set up at the campus and that they must get along well. They stopped me to ask some questions and as it turned out my assumption was wrong; it was the mother that was attending campus and taking a sculpture class! I was immediately impressed by this notion and my admiration only grew as I saw the work that Bonnie began to produce that week. The above sculpture, "Dance, Dance" is my favorite!
 
Writing these spotlights has been a wonderful way for me to learn more about local artists I know and whose work I already admire. I always leave the process with a greater understanding of these people and a better appreciation for the uniqueness of everyone's journey, yet I always seem to find a common ground within these unique journeys to which I can personally relate. To help me get a better understanding of her work Bonnie sent me the proposal she wrote for a past exhibition and as a result I totally connected to her love of the grasslands. Of her work she writes,
 
"I hope you can sense the rolling repetition of the hills, feel the suspension of time, hear the wind blow, see the wind blow, and know the grass is dancing.  Look and wonder, take time to pause, and be mindful of the Grassland Guardians. "
 
  Journey
L72" x W48" x H48"
welded steel sculpture
© Bonnie Conly
 
When immersed in the "quiet" of the prairie grasslands Bonnie finds the hectic pace of daily life fall away and she becomes more grounded and centered; it is like a refuge to her. From here she draws energy and rejuvenates, sometimes alone and sometimes with friends and family. One of her favorite places of respite is Cranberry Flats Conservation Area just a short drive from Saskatoon. Bonnie created a series of canvases as a means of translating her connection to this place.

 In The Draw
36" x 20"
acrylic
© Bonnie Conly

 
Sand Flats
36" x 20"
acrylic
© Bonnie Conly
 
 
  Reach
36" x 20"
acrylic
© Bonnie Conly

Bonnie has been connected to art all of her life. I loved one of the early childhood memories she shared with me,

"I have always been one to draw.  I recall sitting in my desk, shaking in my shoes, because my grade two teacher had called my mother in to talk to her after school.  This meant I had to miss the bus and I knew that if my mom had to come to town from the farm to get me, I was really in trouble.  The teacher showed my mother a drawing I had done of the Nativity and impressed upon my parents to encourage my artistic abilities.  Thus, I always had books, paint and craft supplies close at hand.

She is not the first spotlight artist who has shared with me that they had been encouraged and supported early on in their love of art by a teacher or by parents... or both. What a life-long gift that encouragement can turn out to be. Bonnie became a teacher herself and began her career in a small Saskatchewan town called Elrose. It was at that time that she began working on an art degree at nearby Rosetown where University of Saskatchewan credit classes in Fine Arts were offered at a satellite location. This journey would have many stops and starts along the way, including moves to Saskatoon, Yellowknife and back to Saskatoon, not to mention the raising of four children, but finally after twenty-five years Bonnie would receive her Honours degree in Art Studio and Art History with high honours in 2011. Impressive. In 2010, Bonnie had the opportunity to study in Europe with the Dutch Art Institute and the University of Saskatchewan Studying Abroad where she spent two weeks in Florence, Italy and two weeks in Utrecht, Netherlands.

Curiosity
L7" x W3.5" x H5.5"
welded steel sculpture
© Bonnie Conly

I was very excited to hear that Bonnie was awarded a CARFAC mentor-ship with Alison Norlen as her mentor. They will commence working together this month focusing on sculpture and installation work.

Sustenance
L10" x W10" x H5"
aluminum casting and sculptured crochet bowl
© Bonnie Conly

In 2012 the above piece was juried into "Seeds", an exhibition for emergent artists held at the Affinity Gallery in Saskatoon. I got her know Bonnie last August 2012 at the Emma Lake Kenderdine Campus while she worked with instructor Les Potter. The work she created during that week were a response to a self-directed artist residency she did at Grassland's National Park earlier that summer. These sculptures and the work of two photographers will be part of an OSAC Arts On The Move two year touring exhibition featuring the relationship between metal and the prairie grasslands.
 
 Laura Lake
5" x 7"
acrylic
© Bonnie Conly
 
Bonnie sounds like a busy, inspired woman, doesn't she? Well to top it all off she teaches full time at George Vanier designated Fine Arts School in Saskatoon! Lucky kids! With her own children grown up, she is happy to be able to find a bit more time to dedicate to her art practice and I am curious to see what her CARFAC mentorship will produce in the coming year.
 
 South Bay
13" x 12"
acrylic
© Bonnie Conly

Artist Statement:


"My art translates my connections and observations as I move between rural and urban environments. Both natural and constructed elements that define these spaces influence my work.  I find that places of solace, quiet and engagement are becoming increasingly rare.  They have become sacred to me and I feel a need to celebrate them in my art.  I believe there is an affective bond between person and place that creates a history where location prompts emotion, experience, and memories.  The bond is so strong that the history remains even when the place physically changes.  Once the bond is established, that experience waits for you again."


To learn more about Bonnie please visit these links:

Bonnie Conly- artist profile, Saskatchewan Craft Council

"Hi, I'm Bonnie"- YouTube video 
Hi I’m Bonnie - I baked 300 cookies and travelled to Halifax in the hopes of meeting 300 new people.  I was not sure what would transpire.  The video documentation of the performance depicts honest down to earth Canadian Identity.  The walks took place over three consecutive days and covered the downtown, historical, waterfront areas of Halifax as well as bits of the North and South ends and across the Harbor to Dartmouth.   In a few cases the degrees of separation between new strangers and myself was shrinking to less than two.  I even met a few famous people!  The project resulted in a facebook page where participants continued their experience.

"Sparrow House"- YouTube video
House Sparrow – Sparrow House – I wanted to make a stop motion video in the traditional manner without sophisticated software not unlike Trey Stone and Matt Parker who created South Park on a tabletop in their dorm room.  There are layers of messages in the piece that speak about revitalization and gentrification while two sparrows go about their business of building a home which is the foundation of community.

NOTE: photographs of Bonnie's work are taken by photographers Grant Kernan, Ron Cooley and herself. 

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