“There is a tree on my road that has been cut very strangely to accommodate a power line, and I think about that tree a lot,” says Megan Bogonovich, who envisions the otherworldly potential of human touch on the environment through playful, botanical sculptures.
Based in Norwich, Vermont, Bogonovich recognizes nature’s immense capability for adaptation and strength in seemingly inhospitable spaces. “The whole dandelion growing out of a pavement crack thing,” she says. Her works embody transformation and abundant growth, and unusual colors, shapes, and textures arise in surreal combinations. With bulbous bases, spiked protrusions, and interlocked petals, the works imagine “the batty possibilities of what could be growing in the universe or what might be the first thing to sprout up after an environmental disaster.”
Rooted in play and the “ceaseless goofiness” of reproduction, the sculptures evolve throughout a lengthy process. Bogonovich begins by hand-building small geometric and organic forms like cones, tubes, ovoids, and textured patches made with drilled holes, cuts, and everyday objects like buttons, which she then casts in plaster to make a mold. “If I cast 30 molds one day, by the next day I have a set of slip-cast tinkertoy-type parts that I can alter and bend or duplicate. It’s a lot of labored build-up to get to a point where I can work spontaneously and impulsively with a material that would otherwise want planning,” she says.
These malleable forms are then fired and readied for glazing, a slow, meticulous process that involves several layers and bouts in the kiln at varying temperatures. “The sculptures are matte white when they first come out of the kiln. I let a lot of pieces build up before I start glazing,” Bogonovich says. “I get used to being surrounded by ghost flowers, so when the tide changes to color it feels like a big shift in the studio.” Like nature, glazing is unpredictable, and the pastel pinks, bold oranges, and mottled hues add a whimsical, playful element to the works. “I live in the woods in Vermont, and at this time of year, there is so much green. It’s nice to imagine bright yellow tree trunks or hot pink maple leaves,” she says.
Bogonovich works with Kishka Gallery & Library, where she recently held a solo show, and has sculptures on view through May 20 at SPRING/BREAK Art Show in New York. Find more of her pieces on her site and Instagram.
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