One-artist Exhibition, Artists’ House, Jerusalem.
Jerusalem
1963

“Bonneh, who is exhibiting for the first time the gouache works painted over the past year, remains faithful to the signature themes of his art. He is one of the few who constantly look for new expressions of traditional motifs, derived mainly from Jewish folk art. Nevertheless, Bonneh belongs to the new generation of Israeli artists who have succeeded in creating figurative values that are not limited by those of the previous generation. In his works, Bonneh combines elements that are quite opposed to each other. His imagination is nourished by Jewish folklore, the marriage contracts, the surrealist expressionism of Chagall, even by the experimental synthesis and stylization of abstract art. Illustrative, decorative and expressionist sources are deployed simultaneously, and it is this that makes his paintings unique. In the current exhibition of gouaches, Bonneh departs from the accepted conventions of painting on canvas. He looks to other sources for his inspiration: the instinctive associations aroused by ceramics – like those of Picasso – together with that of antique stained glass. Here we have, then, the mythology of folklore together with the myth of the material clay, the image created in the restricted form of the icon, a limitation that does not restrict the artist. Bonneh knows how to create variations on his theme, endowing them with a descriptive and colourful quality whose beauty derives from the combination of those elements.”

 

Yona Fischer “Lamerhav” 17.5.1963

 

 

 

“Shmuel Bonneh is one of a small group of artists of the younger generation who have turned, in recent years, to a specific artistic genre that combines folk-primitivism and striking ornamentation in biblical and Judaic motifs. … The drawing, remarkable in his works for its simplicity and decorative qualities, originated as a decorative framework of repeated patterns (from which he occasionally deviates in relief and gold paint) in static symmetrical compositions. This decoration is similar in spirit to works from two completely different sources – the ceramics of Picasso, and the icons of the Balkans. … Bonneh’s works excel in their abundance of colour, but the artist brilliantly controls this wealth, and creates a rich and fascinating entity.

 

Avraham Ronen “Haaretz” 17.5.1963

 

 

 

“Shmuel Bonneh is among the most original of our earlier young artists. In his exhibition at the Artists’ House in Jerusalem it is evident that he maturing with distinction, without losing the freshness of youth. On the contrary, together with his professional maturity he has managed to preserve not just the naiveté that has always characterized his work, but even to emphasize this element and its development. … There are works that resemble the decorations in the ancient synagogues, and each of his paintings has something of the character of folklore.”

 

Rachel Engel “Maariv” 17.5.1963

 

 

“Most of Bonneh’s subjects are biblical. His style is reminiscent of the classical primitive, the early artists of Byzantium and Gothic Europe. … His technical ability is excellent, and he knows how to translate his talents and knowledge into material language. … The artist’s rich sense of colour, one of his most important qualities, finds expression in this exhibition.”

 

Meir Ronnen “Haboker” 17.5.1963

 

.”In the main gallery, Shmuel Bonneh of Haifa is showing his first ventures into gouache and its new- found freedom has led to renderings of great dash and spirit that may be difficult to recapture in oil. […] Bonneh’s themes are drawn entirely from the Bible and formalized in a manner that recalls both Rouault and the “classical primitives”: the artists of early Byzantium and Gothic Europe. […] Bonneh’s work is thus well rooted, both in Jewish history and European art. […] The artist’s rich sense of color, one of his greatest assets, is very apparent here.”

 

 

Meir Roonen, “The Jerusalem Post”, 17.5.1963

 


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