Dusty Bongé became one of my favorite artists when I first came across her work in 2019 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans. She was a revelation to me! Dusti Bongé’s artwork taught me valuable lessons about how incomplete the art canon is, how prejudiced it has been against female and Southern artists, and how much more I have to learn and see.
See Great Art is excited to announce a partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation. The mission of the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation is to promote the artistic legacy of Dusti Bongé, Mississippi’s first Abstract Expressionist painter, through exhibition, conservation, scholarship and education. That is a program we can get behind!
The DBAF offices are located in Biloxi, MS and open to visitors for discovery.
Each week, See Great Art will share one of Bongé’s artworks with analysis of the piece from Ligia Römer, PhD, Executive Director at the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation.
Dusti Bongé Self-portrait
TEXT BY: Ligia Römer
This week we have two works. They are both Dusti Bongé self-portraits made during her early years as a painter. In fact, these are almost identical self-portraits, one executed as a pastel drawing and one as an oil painting. We have shared the pastel drawing with you in the past.
Presenting the two self-portraits together offers a very interesting insight into Dusti’s creative process. Many artists, including Dusti, often create studies or sketches in preparation for a painting, no matter its subject matter. These studies allow the artist to play with the composition of a painting in order to capture a dynamic and engaging set-up where the viewer gets to see the subject from a fresh new perspective.
In the case of a self-portrait, the study process is even more revealing, because it not only allows us to understand how the artist comes to create a compelling composition, but it also hints at the inner thought process of the artist. It offers us a glimpse into how the artist wants to present herself to us. We get to experience how the artist: a) views herself as a person, b) sees herself as a subject matter for painting, and c) expresses her own inherent spirit.
Most true artists have made self-portraits, often multiple ones, some because they know themselves better than any other subject, others perhaps to find out more about themselves.
When you visit the exhibit “Piercing the Inner Wall” at The Mississippi Museum of Art, make sure you see this early self-portrait The Balcony, that Dusti painted in the early 1940s.