Vancouver-based painter Bratsa Bonifacho has become a significant and powerful force in contemporary art with an on-going body of work entitled Habitat Pixel. His paintings, which have been exhibited recently in Europe, Toronto, Vancouver and Seattle, symbolically depict computer viruses and worms in grid structures dense with text.
Bratsa Bonifacho, Concerto Virtuoso (2004), oil on canvas [Bau-Xi Gallery, Vancouver BC, Nov 6-27]
Bonifacho is a brilliant colourist who has complete control over his palette. He creates rhythmic movement across the large-scale surfaces with contrasts of scale and pattern, scrambled letters and wingdings, layered colours and rich textures. Recently he has begun to apply glazing techniques learned at the Atelier Kruger in Frankfurt, Germany, in the late 1960s. As in the work of European Old Masters, particularly the Italian Renaissance artists, thin layers of oil paint create a gorgeous sense of depth and translucency.
The new paintings also have a global sensibility in their titles and references. Like exponentially increasing computer viruses, without borders or limitations, the paintings have metaphorically travelled across countries. They have picked up referents: flags of different countries, national colours, cyphers, emblems and words in many languages, including Italian, Spanish, Latin and French. Elegant, distinctive, cryptic and iconic, the Habitat Pixel paintings are strong works.