UMArts Home

MaryAnn Bonjorni, Professor

Painting and Drawing

email: maryann.bonjorni@umontana.edu
phone: 406.243.5443
office: Fine Arts Bldg 303B
website: maryannbonjorni.weebly.com/

Artist Statement

My interest in the West and Western society developed long before "Last Best Place" espresso bars and t-shirts. Like many contemporary regional writers, I arrived at my pursuit through personal investigations into family and place. Over the years I have slowly integrated this information into a larger context. In the past I have supported myself by farming, commercial fishing, as a bartender and ranch hand. I have literally and figuratively sweated out any romantic notions I once held about "western-ness." While these experiences are about physicality and solace amidst a beautiful natural environment, they are also about economic stress, injury, death, and beating the odds. The essence of my work has attempted to link these characteristics.

Trained under the influence of late Modernism and practicing within the linguistic chatter of Post Modernism, much of my work has emphasized process and signing. I work in four ways, each with a specific function. Drawing is a mainstay and often the first step in exploring an idea. Painting constructions allow me to link my inclination to work with found materials and construction techniques to that of the history of pictorial space (which I greatly admire). Although labor intensive, installation cannot be denied when it is the most appropriate choice. Lastly, my work with specific sites may represent the most intricate link between culture, art and myself.

Teaching Philosophy

Studio instruction usually represents a mix of information the area or department feels should be covered, and information the instructor personally feels should be included. How the information is disseminated ranges and is a direct reflection of the instructor's style. It may be the responsibility of the instructor to design courses with informative breadth and challenging depth, but it is the responsibility of the student to remain teachable and to find courses that are appropriate for their learning level and demeanor. I prefer to work within established goals in the area of skills development and with unknown outcomes in the area of critical thinking. Within the role of mentor I hope to facilitate a student's interests, not determine them.

Education

M.F.A. University of California, Santa Barbara, 1986
B.S. Central Washington University, Washington, 1982
Banff Centre for the Arts, Alberta, Canada, Summer 1983