• Interior with Pink Blanket, 2019.
  • On left: The Gold Chain, 2018.
    On right: Louise Bonnet in her studio, Los Angeles.
  • The Floor, 2017.
  • The Slap, 2016.

Louise Bonnet

Contractions and Explosions

Interview Bill Powers
Photography Ye Rin Mok


The trick is never to ask for the permission to make a painting. Or to worry about what people are going to think. I wasted a bunch of years doing that.

BP Where do you make these paintings?
LB Most of the time I work in my studio in LA, but every Summer we visit Rhode Island. My husband went to the Rhode Island School of Design and really loved that area. So for the last fifteen years we spend a couple of months in Wakefield. We have a barn I can paint in. I did most of the nautical paintings in Rhode Island.
BP Do you think of your paintings as being confrontational?
LB It’s funny you say that because they’re not looking at you and sometimes the figures in my paintings are almost hiding. They might seem frozen. I like to capture the stillness, the contraction of something before it explodes. That’s the moment I’m after.
BP Interesting that you go directly to the viewer’s relationship with the figure. I’m referring to your subject matter at large: the aggressive nudity, the precariousness of the poses.
LB I am interested in the suspense, in what that does to the  viewer. The small point of contact that makes the figure not float away or explode into space. Maybe that’s aggressive.
BP There’s one new painting of a figure under a blanket. What are they hiding from?
LB Maybe “hiding” isn’t the right term. It’s about your reaction looking at the painting. I like being creeped out, the mystery of circumstances, the way it’s uncanny in a Freudian sense.



  Read the full interview on MUSE 54