Bea Bonafini channels centuries-old painting traditions into fresh tapestries and sculptures

Elsewhere, Bonafini used rugs to create three-dimensional bodies captured in the middle of the dive, which seemed to guide visitors from room to room, ending up in the gallery’s basement. The effect was similar to walking through a painting coming to life, as if one or was unwrapped in a three-bedroom duplex.

“I have thought a lot about the collective unconscious,” says Bonafini of his current work. She recently showed Renata Fabbri again with her exhibition “Full Moon (Empty Stomach)”, which exploited mythological and prehistoric themes and blurred the lines between the human and animal worlds. There were large scale textiles, like the 6.5 foot by 13 foot I carry you inside me (2021), whose intarsia encrustation shows the skeletal carcass of a sea creature midway through uptake or uptake by another species.

Other works are about as close to traditional canvases as Bonafini gets: pastel on textured cardboard, cork engraved and filled with gouache and colored pencils. Yet they feel like they are part of something bigger, like the fragments of an ancient fresco unearthed at an archaeological site. In Prey, pray (2021), a virgin with golden hair, her braid resembling a scorpion tail, looks up in the ecstasy of prayer or in the agony of suffocation as a pair of claws clench her throat . The rational instinct is to turn away. The visceral compulsion is to keep looking.


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