We’re continuing with a 2023 theme of Dusti Bongé sketch book drawings as our partnership with the Dusti Bongé Art Foundation in Biloxi, MS continues. Analysis, as always, comes from Dusti Bongé Art Foundation Executive Director Ligia M. Römer,
Dusti Bongé, FAV-O-RITE Sketch Book: The Spiral 58R – p.1, c. 1951, ink on paper, 7 ¾” x 5”
In the early 1950s Dusti Bongé filled several of these small spiral-bound sketchbooks with sketches of Keyhole People, her unique surrealist figures of vaguely humanoid shape.
The Keyhole People, in effect, were an important link for Dusti in bridging from figuration to abstraction. Visually, stripped of all representational details they get to the core of a human figure. Likewise, metaphorically they try to penetrate the core of one’s being, the keyholes suggesting a peak into the inner world of the people.
Either way, by trying to get at the essence of people both visually and metaphorically, they become unassailably surreal and abstract.
In all these sketchbooks, the various drawings, mostly done in ink, show her confidence in her mark-making, as she created multiple configurations of the keyhole people, almost always in small groups and often slightly intertwined. She rendered each of these ever-perplexing figures quickly and without any hesitation in her lines.
The two figures here are each drawn with one continuous line. A sense of depth is created by “shading” one figure with vertical stripes, while the other figure remains just an outline, and by just barely overlapping their heads. A third slightly wayward mark extends out to the left of the striped figure and loops back down in between the two, literally linking their legs together.