Jose Bonell: Some Stories

Various Small Fires (VSF) is pleased to introduce Some Stories, a solo exhibition of oil paintings by Barcelona-based, Catalonian artist Jose Bonell in the Los Angeles gallery’s And Milk project space.

Bonell unveils a body of work that bridges the barrier between two seemingly disconnected worlds – the imaginary and the real. In his own words, the artist renders the “contemporary closer to the oneiric and the magic in the everyday.” Bonell’s canvases seamlessly transcend time and space, constructing an enchanting world built upon a refined color palette and the raw materials of his mind: blurred memories, historical references, badly recorded dreams, literature, and fictionalized realities.

Some Stories presents a distinct narrative and intention to override logic – paving the way for desire, seduction, wit, non-sensical humor, and the uncanny to poetize the physical world. His paintings intentionally subvert materiality, calling on the viewer’s curiosity to dissect their suggestive mannerisms and otherworldly nuances. In The Candidate, warm neutral tones and a gently shadowed foreground draw focus to a spider-hand in search of a suitor, offering its last unengaged finger to the most befitting candidate. The artist draws from folklore and shared cultural understandings to subtly reveal the mystery, monotony, and magic in our lived experiences. Reminiscent of veristic surrealism, Bonell’s dream-like imagery creates space for the unconscious to surface by distorting reality and blurring the line between fact, fiction, and universal truth.

Bonell’s works in Some Stories lie firmly at the juxtaposition of altruism and sarcasm, they reflect on modern existence by reinterpreting the physical realm, revealing its dualities and inherent contradictions. Like Scheherazadea’s tales in One Thousand and One Nights, the artist’s painterly narratives stimulate the imagination by creating a cobweb of references and articulated situations without a beginning or end.

Jose Bonell (b. 1989, lives and works in Barcelona, Catalonia) has held solo exhibitions at Adams & Ollman Gallery, Portland, USA; La Centrale, Andrèche, France; and Rossi Contemporary, Brussels, Belgium; Lauréats du Prix Novembre à Vitry, Galerie Municipale Jean-Collet, Vitry-sur-Seine, France. Recent group exhibitions include Midnight Hour, Scroll NYC & The Hole, New York, USA; Needful Things, Rødzlo Space, Berlin; Bonell recently took part in Felix Art Fair in Los Angeles, along with a solo project at Feria Marte in Castellon and a group show at PM/AM in London. He is co-director at Unica Edicions, a publisher of artist’s books and serial objects founded in 2020. H’s works are part of the Collection de la Ville in Vitry-sur-Seine as well as the Fundacja Krupa in Warsaw.