Winsor Wirebound Sketch Books – p.5, c. 1974, watercolor and ink on paper, 17” x 14″
From a 1974 sketchbook containing seven pages of pen and ink, watercolor, and pastel paintings, we have here an excellent example of a sketch that forms part of a series of abstract, mostly patterned studies Dusti Bongé did during those years.
In this particular series, she kept exploring various gridded compositions. A grid, of course, is a very reduced form of geometry, an organizing pattern devoid of any obvious symbolism, representation or subjective interpretation. As such, grids offer a very pure form of abstraction that nonetheless allows for infinite configurations. Using grids allowed certain modern artists to capitalize on their need to eliminate any sense of reality or narrative.
However, in Dusti’s case, the grids also appear to hark back to her earlier interest in the idea of windows, inspired by her early years in New York and her observations about the millions of windows revealing just as many small worlds behind them. What is different is that in these works from the 1970s, the gridded aspect becomes much more pronounced.
Typically, the horizontal and vertical lines are dark, and the resulting spaces are left blank.
Perhaps, given Dusti’s recurring interest in windows, we could say that in her case the objectivity of the grid reveals spaces in between that could be seen as windows, which in contrast to the grid itself, are rich in subjective interpretations and references, both literal and metaphorical.