The Center for Ongoing Research & Projects

Kate Bonner

Nearly the same

(Defining Objects Ch. 2)

February 14th - March 12th, 2016

  • Kate Bonner: Nearly the same

Have you ever seen something in the distance that you couldn’t quite make out? A speck of color against a background that would not come into focus? The senses strain in an attempt to discern what it is. There is a moment when you recognize that unidentifiable object as something quite banal– perhaps a dog, a paper bag, a garbage can.

Though the dog is still barely discernible from afar, in the moment of recognition it has transformed into a fully formed mental image. That object that you see has split. Through an amalgamation of memory and expectation, it now moves and breathes, slobbers and pants. You fill in the attributes from a dog you already know. Our past experience and familiarity overrides our perception of the physical phenomena before us and becomes something else entirely. These two things exist at once: that which is detected by our senses, and that which can be seen in our mind’s eye.

Vying for dominance, they intermingle and get confused. Simultaneously near and far, specific and undefined, past and present, they are the same, but completely different.

About the Artist

Part photo, part sculpture, Kate Bonner’s work is an attempt to expand space and to bar entry. She uses scissors, scanners, digital erasers and jigsaws to break apart images and deny story. Her work values perceptual failures and contains real boundaries: literally walls, windows and frames that serve as entry points or that limit access. Bonner has exhibited at venues such as the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, Torrance Art Museum, The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, Luis De Jesus, Et al., Catherine Clark, The Hole, The Pit, Paris Photo LA, and NADA New York. Her work has garnered critical attention in New American Paintings, Complex, and SF Arts Quarterly, among other publications. Bonner received an MFA from the California College of Art and a BFA in Studio Art from Calvin College. Born in Michigan, she currently resides in Oakland, California. She is represented by Luis De Jesus in Los Angeles and Et al. in San Francisco.

Defining Objects