In this new series, celebrated artist Ross Bonfanti extends the playfulness of hisConcreature sculptures, a series of cement sculptures derived from well- worn and discarded toys. Mined from local thrift shops, these stuffed animals are manipulated to create altered visions that redefine and renew their purpose while maintaining their former significance. Remnants of fabric and fur remain on the concrete surface revealing hidden elements and recorded memories of past physical manipulation and emotional associations of these once beloved objects.
In this new exhibition, Bonfanti reimagines the history of travelling circus animals both common and exotic, which were held captive for public entertainment. This traveling circus tradition has its roots in aristocratic menageries, which were spectacles to behold. Dancing bears, elephants, horses, and big cats have all been used in circus acts that at once shocked, horrified, and delighted spectators. Bonfanti looks to further entice feelings of cute and creepy, soft and hard, comfort and unease with a new sense of whimsy.
Ross Bonfanti, originally from Toronto, is a graduate of Ontario College of Art and Design. His work is held in many private collections in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia notable 21 C Museum Hotels (Louisville, KY, USA), Boca Raton Museum of Art (Boca Raton, FL, USA), Hirshhorn Museum Smithsonian Institute (Washington DC, USA), and Canada Council for the Arts (ArtBank, Ottawa, ON, Canada).