"Buzzing in Berlin"

 This past April I enjoyed a week-long trip to Berlin; my first in that amazing city.  Perhaps most striking is the contradiction of old and new which influences every dimension of the city from culture to architecture to art to the very people themselves.  One can’t help but be captivated by the combination of old and new architecture.  Since German reunification and as the result of fierce bombings during WWII, the city has undergone an architectural transformation.  Nearly every major contemporary architect has a building represented in the city:  I. M. Peis’ German Historical Museum, Frank Gehry’s DZ Bank, Helmut Jahn’s Sony Center lead the way.  But one need only visit the government buildings, particularly the Reichstag whose dome was designed by Norman Foster then look at the surrounding plaza of buildings designed by Stephen Braunfels to get a glimpse of how the Germans embrace contemporary architecture.  While the museums are a showcase of old and new, witness the Pergamon with its antiquities; the Jewish Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind and the Holocaust Memorial conceived as 2700 graves under the sky conceived by Peter Eisenman provide a stark contrast.

Jewish Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind

In addition to the obvious historical sites, I was astounded by the ease of travel given the infrastructure.  A simple underground, known as the U-bahn was supplemented by the S-bahn, elevated tracks, in addition to cable cars, and busses on nearly every corner with a full compliment of taxis, etc.  It seemed a shame that in a country which manufactures both Mercedes and BMWs that one would never need a car to get around their largest city.

Reichstag Dome

Likewise, the museums provided a full range of art offerings, from a bust of Nefertiti to the most contemporary Berlinische Galerie www.berlinischegalerie.de where I saw the silhouette of an airplane created out of a Persian run entitled “Flying Carpet”  by Alex Flemming along with a large painting created of cassette audio tape cases—all works collected and produced since 2002.

Gehrydz Bank

One day I spent just touring art galleries, about 30 in all, focusing on two of the five art districts in Berlin.  One of my most interesting finds was the work of a recent art school grad that focused on how people need to cooperate to communicate.  Valentin Hertweck at www.gitteweisegallery.com showcased “Legato” a fully set table for six, where all utensils and glassware needed to be used simultaneously for a successful dinner party.  Yukiko Terada at www.deschler-berlin.de has on display her works cut from textiles—a gigantic functional T-shirt and a shopping bag with wheels, with a plaid dog cut right from the same cloth.  I was lucky enough to see another artist known of his work with textiles, Daniel Buren at www.buchmanngalerie.com where he had blue and white and green and white sailcloth strips extended over fans all blowing in harmony entitled “Westwind.”  At www.aurelscheibler.com I was intrigued to find the work of Thomas Rentmeister, known for his sculptural work with vast quantities of Styrofoam and nutella who had “replastered” the entire back wall of the gallery with this mixture of white and chocolate, providing a background for his newer works using Q-tips, cotton balls, and sugar cubes glued together with a yellow glue.  His use of everyday materials was an interesting commentary on his pursuit of art. 

I could also write volumes on the not-so-distinguished art I saw, painted two by fours, disappointing videos, ceramic figures with long red noses, and piles of plastic tubing.  I’ll refrain from dismissing these as art and just keep them in my memory bank as making the trip a worthwhile endeavor and furthering the dynamic contrasts I witnessed during my trip.

By Clark Olson / Co-owner Bonner David Galleries, Communication Professor Arizona State University, Phoenix Art Museum Senior Docent and world traveler.



"The Figure Takes Form" New Works by Michael Carson

Well known figurative artist Michael  Carson will debut his latest collection on December 3, 2010 from 6-9pm at Bonner David Galleries in Scottsdale, AZ (Location and Hours). Carson has been a mainstay at Bonner David since 2006 attracting acclaim from critiques and collectors all over the U.S. Last year American Art Collector Magazine raved about Carson’s work (to read the full article click here Michael Carson in AAC). They loved him so much they just had to feature him again…Don’t miss Michael’s profile in this month’s issue of AAC!

Best known for his broad brushstrokes, use of color, and enticing settings; Carson represents his subjects in familiar arenas such as nightclubs, jazz bars, café’s, and intimate rooms.

When asked about his style Carson states, “My work is first and foremost figurative studies. It’s what I like to paint, my biggest challenge and my greatest payoff. My nondescript surroundings help me create a mood or a story that I am trying to relay through my painting. Inspiration comes from architectural interiors as well as fashion and my work allows me to explore and explain this side of myself. Seeing how the work evolves, the subtle and the drastic differences, and looking forward to the future is what keeps me painting. I view a painting as a success when I take from it something new that follows me into my next work.” 

"Blue Window" by Michael Carson

While Carson continues to entice us with his captivating figures, he is now also making strides in the genre of sculpting. With the upcoming show approaching, and excitement over the new bronze sculptures growing, we just had to know more about this inspired new collection. So, we sent our intern Elizabeth on a mission to get the full scoop!

Elizabeth: What made you want to start sculpting?

Carson: I have always wanted to try sculpting, but it was important to me to concentrate on one medium for a good period of time, from a technical standpoint as well as a business one.

Elizabeth: Was it something you had always thought you might do? Why have you decided to make that transition now?
Carson: I guess I started it when I was feeling a little inspirational blockage from painting and just needed a new creative diversion.

Elizabeth: What is the inspiration for all of your new works?
Carson: My inspiration is still the figure. I’ve had people say that some of my sculptures resemble characters from my paintings and that is just fine by me.

Elizabeth: Have you noticed an evolution in your painting since taking up the sculpting that, perhaps, you had not expected?

Carson: Yes, I have seen sculpting affect my painting tremendously! The act of having to see something in 3 dimensions is a very trying exercise. As you turn a piece around you literally have to get all angles correct and that is very technical, especially when you do not have the perfect reference and have to conceive it in your mind. But, as I go to paint I find myself seeing the figure in multiple angles and that is always helpful in correcting your drawing skills. I feel it has made me a better figure painter. But what I love about sculpting is not worrying about color. Color is tricky and complicated for me and it is nice to just work a piece and not have to consider that. The actual act of working with the hands is a great experience as well. The first couple of days my hands were so sore, it really is quite a physical practice.

"Flapper" by Michael Carson (original clay)

"Flapper" by Michael Carson (original clay)

You can discover Michael Carson’s latest collection of 1920’s inspired paintings and bronze sculpture at Bonner David Galleries. For more information or to receive a listing of the full collection please contact us at art@bonnerdavid.com or call 480.941.8500


Shona Sculpture Opening!

"Infinite Harmony" by Collen Nyanhongo

"Infinite Harmony" by Collen Nyanhongo

Join us at Bonner David Galleries this Thursday October 22, 2009 from 6-9pm for the opening of the Shona Sculpture Show “Infinite Harmony”.

Collen, Moses, Wellington, and Agnes Nyanhongo, a  recognized family in Shona sculpture, as well  Colleen Madamombe will exhibit their latest works of spiritual and figurative art.

Collen and Moses Nyanhongo will be in attending the opening. Moses is the newest member of the Nyanhongo family to join Bonner David Galleries. We are excited to be welcoming him on his first trip to America!

The show also pays a special tribute to Colleen Madamombe, a beloved artist and friend. She passed away on May 31, 2009 and was laid to rest at her rural home in Zvimba, Zimbabwe.   

"My Lovely Daughters" by Colleen Madamombe
“My Lovely Daughters” by Colleen Madamombe




“Her name will go on in history for having uplifted the name of female artists to  the highest level.” -Doreen Sibanda Executive Director of the National Art Gallery


 The evening will also mark the 2009 “Taste of Art” Artwalk hosted by Crave Arizona.  Wine tastings from Washington State wineries will be available at select galleries in Scottsdale, and Bonner David Galleries will be hosting Townshend Cellar.


 For more information about Shona Sculpture or to view the entire show contact us at art@bonnerdavid.com