The Secret Garden
Bonnie Severien often opts for a high-contrast balance between austere architecture and dynamic nature. The modernist architecture in a lush jungle of plants and flowers immediately draws the viewer into a dreamed reality, which has something contemplative like in the paintings of Caspar David Friedrich. They are tranquil places in the by humans cultivated nature.
We see staged and assembled worlds in which the artist plays with differences in scale between nature and a geometric architecture. To do this, she picks plants from her own garden or wild flowers on the roadside in her neighborhood, photographs them and composes a collage. Severien creates her new world entirely by hand, each line or leaf is taped, cut and painted in, which creates a graphic quality. The plants represent growth, abundance, prosperity and innocence. The architecture represent man-made, linear structures.
Modern, mid-century architecture is placed in a world of magnified plants. The leaves and flowers symbolize hope, growth and prosperity. The lights that we see in the background are little rays of hope, shining light on good times to come, as well as good memories.
The viewer gets carried away in a sublime and dreamy reality. The sublime sense of nature reminds us of the works of Caspar David Friedrich. In the middle of this great nature we see a model of geometrical order which questions the sense of space. The Romantic philosopher von Schelling had a great way to put it:
Art is the representation of the infinite in the finite.
The colors that where used in the Modern Paradise series are petrol blue, white, black and light brown.
The Urban Nature paintings are inspired by 17th century Dutch flower still life paintings. The plants represent the abundance, the innocence and the organic world, as well as growth and hope for the future. Another inspiration: works of Matisse, which are full of beautiful patterns. The patterns in the Urban Nature works are self-designed and inspired by European Art History.