Creative Quarantine: Artist Clarissa Bonet

Portrait of Clarissa Bonet by Natalie Krick

1. How are you holding up?

I’m doing well all things considered.

Trajectory | From the series City Space | 32″ x 40″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2018

2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?

My art practice and typical methods of making have been disrupted by Covid-19. Typically, I work on multiple projects throughout the year and during the warmer months. Mainly, I work on the street, making images for my project, City Space. Many people assume I am making a lot of work for the project right now because the city streets are much calmer with many people staying home, which is ideal for making the final images in the project. But I don’t think people realize how long it takes to do the visual research and, hence, the risk of exposure to the virus that comes with it. To come up with the ideas for my pictures I roam the city street for hours at a time looking, experiencing, and taking notes. When I do this, I like to clear my schedule and mind so I can focus on what is in front of me, which is difficult when constantly thinking of the virus: when crossing the street at an intersection with other pedestrians; when sitting on a bench that is likely a high-touch object; when essentially uneasy at the thought of coming into contact with people without masks on. It’s surprising how many people walk down the street without masks on! As much as I want to be out roaming the streets, making work for this project, I also have to think about the risk and the potential exposure when in public space for hours at a time. That being said, I just recently started to do the visual research part of a project on the streets. In a typical year, I would be out walking multiple days a week, but right now I am limiting that to once, maybe twice a week at most.

Resting | From the series City Space | 40″ x 32″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2018

As my typical process of production has been disrupted, I’ve been using the time to experiment with some new work – creating in my studio and at home. In addition, I’ve also started a collaborative project with artist Natalie Krick of Seattle. We had been talking about doing collaboration for years and finally decided now was the time to start. Our first piece is in the current show Photography & _____ at the Catherine Edelman Gallery, which is up now and will run until September 4, 2020.

Public Private Space | From the series City Space | 40″ x 32″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2019

3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?

Working collaboratively was new for me, and has been rewarding. Natalie has challenged me to think and make work that was outside of my normal method of making. Moving forward, we plan to continue our collaborative work together and are currently working on some new pieces.

Over the last few months, my practice has shifted to a more studio-based practice. Prior to the shutdown, I shot in the studio only rarely, unless for an editorial assignment. I typically used my studio space as a production space for printing, bookmaking, exhibition planning, research, etc. But lately, I have been using my space to photograph and experiment with the photographic object, which directly came out of working collaboratively, and which opened me to approach my own work a little differently. Even when we are past Covid-19, I want to continue to push myself outside of my typical methods of making to include making work in my studio.

Proximity | From the series City Space | 32″ x 40″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2014

4. Of the artists you follow, who’s handling this particularly well?

Natalie Krick has a rigorous studio practice that has continued throughout the Covid-19 crisis. She is currently working on some quite interesting resin pieces and pushing the bounds of the photographic medium with her one-of-a-kind pieces.

Gust | From the series City Space | 40″ x 32″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2018

Glimpse | From the series City Space | 40″ x 32″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2019

Fortress | From the series City Space | 40″ x 32″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2016

Emerge | From the series City Space | 32″ x 40″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2017

Curated Landscape | 32″ x40″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2019

Calculation, 2019 | From the series City Space | 32″ x 40″ | © Clarissa Bonet

A Brief Connection | From the series City Space | 40″ x 32″ | © Clarissa Bonet 2019

Clarissa Bonet is an artist based in Chicago whose work explores issues of the urban space in both a physical and psychological context. She holds an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago and a BS in Photography from the University of Central Florida.

Bonet’s work has been exhibited at the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Aperture Foundation, Magenta Foundation, and Catherine Edelman Gallery.

Her work has been published in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, CNN Photo, Chicago Magazine, Harpers Bizarre, Juxtapoz, Aint-Bad, The Eye of Photography, Photo District News, and many other publications both nationally and internationally.

Bonet’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Southeast Museum of Photography, Haggerty Museum of Art, University Club Chicago, and the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection.

Check out her website and Instagram feed. Her show at Catherine Edelman Gallery runs through September 4, 2020