Bonnie Bronson (1940 - 1990) was an important, well-loved, Portland, OR-based sculptor who worked across several media. Largely known for her enamel and steel sculptures, many of her works are displayed in public institutions throughout the Northwest. The Early Years will focus primarily on Bronson’s early oil paintings and works on paper, a number of which have never before been exhibited. Created in the 1960s these works reflect an interest in action painting. Though the influence of such American luminaries as Willem De Kooning is visible in these pieces, the beginnings of Bronson’s future signature visual language of grids, geometric forms, and monochromatic color schemes can be perceived.
Born in Portland, OR in 1940, Bonnie Bronson attended the Portland Art Museum School (now the Pacific Northwest College of Art) from 1959 - 61. Until her death in 1990, Bronson exhibited actively throughout the Northwest, including a one-person exhibition at the Portland Art Museum in 1979 and several exhibitions at Marylhurst College in Marylhurst, OR. In 1977 her work was included in an invitational exhibition at the Woman’s Building/Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, CA, and the following year she received the Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship. Bronson was also commissioned to create several permanent artworks at prominent institutions and businesses throughout Oregon, including Southern Oregon University, Timberline Lodge, the Justice Center in Portland, Nordstrom, and the Multnomah Athletic Club. After her death the Bonnie Bronson Fund was created, and has awarded an annual prize to a mid-career regional artist since 1992. Currently, there is a retrospective exhibition of Bronson’s work on view at PNCA’s Swigert Commons, through October 9, 2011.