charlie bonallack

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Quick Facts
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Relief/Construction, mixed-media, installation, conceptual, surrealism, modern, photography, exhibition/performance, design, photo

After studying art at Reading University under Richard Wilson, Ron Haseldon and Rose Finn-Kelcey, Charlie taught art for three years and then moved abroad in 1994 for several years to live in Prague, Lisbon, and London, where he worked as an artist, designer, art director and photographer.

In 2004 Charlie moved to Montpellier, France where he lives with his partner Patricia and their three boys, Jules, Blaise and Luigi. His switch to freelance status as a designer and photographer, since moving to France, has enabled him to focus more on his work as a practising studio artist.

At the heart of my paintings often lie photographs, which in recent years, I have begun to view more as objects rather than images or pictures. Photographs resemble mere flat visual receipts – fossils: “phossils”.
Whilst photography supports looking and investigating, this process stops once the record
is made. Looking and photographing are two very different exercises. A blink of the eye leaves a residue that fades into memory; an aperture shuts and holds an inert record which toys with memory. The former is a human action, the latter, a mechanical – albeit humanly directed – action.
The chasm between these two outcomes – the intangible memorised image and the fossilised visual record – is often the starting point for my paintings. An ongoing frustration with the outcome (a photograph) and a need to interact further with photographs themselves has led me to creating my own images using photographs as beginnings rather than end results.”

– CB 2012

Charlie revisits, scrutinises and questions the visual makeup which amounts to the recorded image – the photograph – selecting which visual information is worth investigating and
which areas are best left as empty vacuums or faint traces. His recent work on porcelain immortalises photographs using a technique whereby Charlie hand paints (often presumed printed) with porcelain pigments directly onto porcelain...the end result is essentially a ‘fired’ photograph, which if not dropped and broken will serve as an eternal memorial to a given moment, rather than wither and fade like a printed photograph. These beautiful rendered porcelain photographs (which he refers to as ‘phossils’) are then presented with a variety of supports and often transform an existing object, like a table or a car into an installation or sculpture – a monument to an already completed moment. 

– KR 2014

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