Camilla Brown - The performer emerges in the work of Sian Bonnell

Bonnell has been developing work on a variety of subjects but for many years her terrain has been the domestic sphere. Playing with scale and format she takes everyday objects outside into the landscape to photograph them at monolithic scale. In When domestic meets the wild [1999] bright coloured pan scrubbers are placed on wires across a more traditional landscape shot; for Putting Hills in Holland [2001] jelly and blancmange moulds are piled on top of each other to create leaning towers and in Glowing [2003] luminescent rabbit jelly moulds nestle in the grass. When not working outside often the setting for her works has been her home using food as a material for her sculptures and installations. In her series Everday Dada (2003-5) Bonnell places slices of tinned luncheon meat over bathroom tiles and in the sub-series Scenic Cookery she creates mounds of mash potato, peas and sausages, shaped like iconic landscapes such as Stone Henge.

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Pavel Büchler - Out of Order

The editor’s job is to make pictures work. In the present instance, so she tells me, the editor of this magazine has selected a handful of photographs, from a lot of fifty, “all from the office environment”. The choice is unsurprising:- the office is an editor’s natural habitat. It is where editors put to work an array of means, instruments and technologies, from the keyboard at the heart of the work station to the humble pencil sharpener on the corner of the desk, the coffee maker, pair of scissors or the omnipresent rubber bands and paper clips, to make the pictures do something meaningful for us. Not so for a photographer, an unsettled, migratory kind of creature who lives at large and drifts between light and dark stalking for images - which makes it equally unsurprising that when Sian Bonnell found herself temporarily resident in the administrative quarters of the Photography Department at the Moravian Gallery in Brno, she felt stuck.

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Susan Bright - Household Management

Nothing lovelier can be found
In Woman, than to study household good.

- Milton

 In my imaginary dinner party scenario of invited characters from history I would place the poet and polemicist John Milton next to the artist Sian Bonnell. She could tell him a thing or two about the ‘loveliness’ of the study of ‘household good’ but it might well be very different from what he had in mind - she has updated the rules of housework for the litigious and paranoid 21st Century with a sisterly twist and a gentle satirising humour.

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Louise Wolthers - A Taste of Home

Walls plastered with slices of cooked meats and floors carpeted with sliced bread! The interiors in Sian Bonnell’s photographs confuse our concepts of what a home, food and interior design is by (literally) mixing the categories. To some extent her images can be seen to imitate the appearance of lifestyle magazines, magazines primarily aimed at the female consumer displaying beautiful homes in tasteful materials - homes full of designer furniture in an atmosphere of comfort and happiness. But Bonnell’s interiors are a humorous deconstruction of that glossy world.

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Mel Gooding - Sian Bonnell: poetic fictions

 

Sian Bonnell’s latest series of light-box works, Glowing, presents us with a number of mysterious and beautiful images in which, by the magical alchemy of photography, banal domestic objects - jelly moulds, colanders, plates and glasses - are transfigured into luminous objects that have arrived - who knows how? - from an elsewhere unknown. Emancipated from a familiar order of things, alienated from the quotidian domestic, they are charged with an energy whose imaginary sources we cannot guess at. If They Came, the title of the series when exhibited as photographic prints at Hirshl in 2003, deliberately evoked those science-fiction films of the ‘fifties and ‘sixties in which the earth was being constantly visited by things from outer space, the atmospheric and lucent intensity of these images, and the evident reality of their mis-en-scéne - a function of specifically photographic persuasion -takes them beyond the creaky theatricality that added hilarity to the (false and faked) alarm that greeted the movie arrival of unlikely aliens.

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Camilla Jackson - Glowing

Recent work by Sian Bonnell is intriguing as it combines beguiling beauty with unnerving simplicity of execution. These richly coloured prints are of luminous objects which seem to have been discovered by the artist in the landscape. Suffused by mist these unidentified glowing things appear to have light emanating from them. This gives them a strange otherworldly appearance. However on closer inspection their prosaic and domestic origin becomes clear, as colanders and jelly moulds are deciphered in amongst the blades of grass. It is the scale and heightened colours; the glorious pinks, artificial greens, radiant yellows and vivid oranges that render these items unfamiliar.

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Roy Exley - Sian Bonnell: Landscape Features

What are the distinctions between a landscape and the land, how does it change our perception of things if we consider them to be either in the landscape or on the land? The land, it seems, is something we work or walk upon, while the landscape is something we contemplate, paint, or photograph. Our relationship to the land is an active one, while our relationship to the landscape is essentially a passive one, if we walk in the landscape we participate in a romantic fantasy, Arcadia or Elysium are re-visited. The landscape is untouchable, it is distant, lying somewhere between percept and concept. When we consciously survey the landscape, our perception roves between what we observe and what we recollect of landscape archetypes.

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Interview with Rhonda Wilson

The landscape photograph is something which traditionally shows the 'lie of the land', the 'reality' of the place and, in Great Britain, the 'englishness' of the countryside. rather than take this approach, sian bonnell's viewpoint introduces playfulness but also asks serious questions, reveals the fragility of a countryside exposed to the traumas of 'naturalisation', nostalgia, and dis-eases such as BSB and Foot-and-Mouth. she makes her 'marks' upon the landscape in ways which help us to critique traditional approaches to capturing the land and at the same time reinforces links to history and the delights of nature.

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Iain Biggs - Sian Bonnell: A Context

Sian Bonnell’s work can appear, at first sight, almost disarmingly simple. By this I mean that it can be seen as the antithesis of the type of atmospheric, determinedly complex work of a landscape photographer like Thomas Joshua cooper. Something of this disarming ‘simplicity’ is apparent when one tries to describe her images from memory. For example, one image comes to memory as:

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