Dusti Bongé fiery red watercolor painting

Another delightful gem of a watercolor on joss paper painting to enjoy as part of See Great Art’s partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation. Analysis of the work, as always, from DBAF Executive Director Ligia M. Römer.

Dusti Bongé, Untitled (Black Bamboo with Red Flames), 1984, watercolor on joss paper, 6 3/8” x 5 ½”.

Herewith a joss paper painting where Dusti Bongé decided to really celebrate the gilded square at the center. There is a sense of symmetry in this work, but it is not static like symmetrical arrangements often are. Quite the opposite, it is a balanced yet highly dynamic composition.

There are several salient elements that contribute to this dynamic balance.

For one, the gold square is flanked by vertical segmented black lines resembling bamboo stalks. Some of these black stalks also run right through the square where their darkness dissolves into a much fainter shade of gray. These central stalks are dotted with green foliage.

Secondly, the square is also surrounded by a glowing, orangey red, upside-down teardrop shape that is outlined in dark tones of purple and black. On either side, these dark tones bleed a little bit into the gold, creating a silvery gray edge, but mostly they wash out into the background. Here they mingle with hints of green and olive green, setting off the central teardrop shape, and the gold square within, in all its vibrant glory.

Finally, along the top edge, things brighten up with a continuous band of golden yellow, where the bamboo stalks peak out of their dark background and are adorned by red dots that are reminiscent of some type of poppy flower.

With these various elements, Dusti establishes a clear sense of left and right and up and down. Yet, within this organizational framework, this piece offers a very rich juxtaposition of vibrancy and shadowy darkness, symmetry and playfulness, abstract and figurative elements.

All of this Dusti manages to achieve in a piece that is roughly 6” x 5”.

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