Dusti Bongé Keyhole People

Dusti Bongé Keyhole People show off a whimsical, fantastical side of the artist. Our partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation continues revealing intriguing new sides of this endlessly fascinating artist. Insight into this week’s artwork comes from Dusti Bongé Art Foundation Executive Director Ligia M. Römer.

Dusti Bongé, FAV-O-RITE Sketch Book: The Spiral, p.9 and p.10, 1951, pen & ink on paper, 7 3/4” x 5”

Dusti Bongé’s surrealist Keyhole People are one of the unique transitional steps she made from figurative art to abstract art. Although the figures are simplified human-like forms, they are distinctly not real humans. Rather, they hint at how she viewed people and their relationships and interactions.

There are compositions where the figures appear like a family unit, or a couple or a larger group. Then there are works where they stand apart, or interact, or where they seem to actively move. 

These two pages from a 1951 sketchbook depict characters engaged in rather lively motion. Each sketch features a trio of figures that seem to be dancing. In the first sketch two of the figures are distinguished by different patterns or markings whereas in the second sketch they all remain blank inside. Thus in the first trio there is a clear individuality to each figure whereas in the second trio they are all largely non-distinct and blend together. 

It is also interesting to note that the patterning of the figures seems to bring more depth to the first composition. Additional perspective is achieved by another element in the first sketch, which is also absent in the second sketch, to wit, the indication of a horizon line. Thus, although both sketches present us with three animated figures, the few extra marks in the first sketch add dimension and individuality to the overall composition that the second sketch is lacking. Yet both sketches are joyful with their dancing characters.

Dusti Bongé, FAV-O-RITE Sketch Book: The Spiral, p.10
Dusti Bongé, FAV-O-RITE Sketch Book: The Spiral, p.10

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