Dusti Bongé infinity symbol color sketch

I love color and “action” artwork – marks, lines and paint laid down fast. Frenzied. With energy.

As such, I take particular delight in this week’s artwork shared by the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation with analysis of the work coming from DBAF Executive Director Ligia M. Römer as always.

Dusti Bongé, Black Hardbound Artist Sketchbook – p.77, 1980, mixed media on paper, 8 1/4” x 5 1/4”

This week we jump into one of Dusti Bongé’s later sketchbooks from the 1980s again. This is one of those basic black hardbound artists’ sketch books commonly used at the time. Although it looks like a few pages were torn out, it still contains over ninety pages of watercolor paintings, felt tip pen drawings, handwritten poems, typed poems and several paper inserts with yet more poems.

There are several small paintings with this figure-eight composition in the book. This shape has a long history, having been studied since at least the 5th century as an algebraic curve now known as the lemniscate.

 In the 16th century it became the symbol for infinity In mathematics. The mathematical infinity symbol is used to represent a potential infinity, rather than an actually infinite quantity.

The symbol has also been used in mythical and literary contexts to refer to a more symbolic idea of the infinite.

Given Dusti’s interest in Zen Buddhism and its concept of the void or emptiness, i.e., that reality lies beyond our ordinary perception, it is not surprising that a concept like infinity would also intrigue her. Both are concepts that confront us with the unattainable knowledge and very tenuous grasp we have on reality.

In this study, Dusti drew the figure-eight shape several times in black felt tip pen and accented different parts of its curves with fiery red and yellow marks. The enclosed two ovoid shapes are rendered in different shades of watery green. There are a few hints of blue completing those shapes in between the multiple black lines of the lemniscate and all of it is set on a background pale blue wash.

Although she uses only four base hues, the whole achieves a rich array of multicolored tones.

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