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Tue, Jun 18

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Free Spirt Gallery & Shop

CIRKO BIZZARO | DIANNA "Coco Loco" BONDER | JUNE 18 - JULY 7, 2024

Guys & Gals and Non-Binary Pals, freaks and geeks, beardos and weirdos, step right up and BEHOLD! The Greatest Show on Earth…Step right up, step right up come closer, you won't believe your eyes!

CIRKO BIZZARO | DIANNA "Coco Loco" BONDER | JUNE 18 - JULY 7, 2024
CIRKO BIZZARO | DIANNA "Coco Loco" BONDER | JUNE 18 - JULY 7, 2024

Time & Location

Jun 18, 2024, 10:00 a.m. – Jul 07, 2024, 4:00 p.m.

Free Spirt Gallery & Shop , 590 N Rd, Gabriola, BC V0R 1X3, Canada

About the event

OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY JUNE 21, 6-8PM | ARTIST TALK: SUNDAY JUNE 23, 2-3PM

Free Spirit Gallery is proud to present Dianna Bonder's first solo show at the gallery Cirko Bizzaro. Dianna is a longtime Gabriola resident and artist, she maintains a full time practice in her studio gallery on Gabriola Island, BC, where she works in sculpture, painting, and pen and ink drawing. Coco Loco (Dianna Bonder) is a queer multi-disciplinary artist and award-winning author/illustrator of 14 books for children. She trained in fine arts in Toronto before making her way out west. 

Coco’s current project, Cirko Bizzaro, extends the long tradition of the circus freak show. This show and the many paintings represents over a year of immense work and creative prowess. She describes her paintings and style as "cutesque" her hybrid cast of characters harness both a joy and sadness. They are full of colour, fun, irony, weirdness, and incredible details and technique. Her work celebrates alternative contemporary work, pop-surrealism, turning tradition upside down and spinning it. 

Cirko Bizzaro: A Carnival of the Bizarre In the kaleidoscope of my imagination, where the ordinary is mundane and the bizarre reigns supreme, lies the inspiration for "Cirko Bizzaro" -- a testament to the peculiarities and wonders of the circus and freak show. Through 35 new paintings and mixed media pieces, I invite you into a world where the lines between reality and fantasy blur, where the Strange is the only constant. The characters that populate "Cirko Bizzaro" are a menagerie of the strange and the whimsical. Each piece points to a world where oddities and freaks are celebrated rather than shunned. These characters, with their exaggerated features and quirky personalities, often staring back at the viewer, reflect the diversity, strangeness, and complexity of human experience. At the heart of "Cirko Bizzaro" is a celebration of the weird and the “cutesque” – that moment where something adorable suddenly becomes distressing. Through my paintings, I seek to challenge conventional notions of beauty and normativity, inviting viewers to embrace the uniqueness of every form of life. In a world that often demands conformity, the circus provides a sanctuary for misfits and outcasts, a place where strangeness is not only accepted but celebrated. The aesthetic of "Cirko Bizzaro" is a blend of the cute, the grotesque and the whimsical, both eerie and the enchanting. Each painting is a riot of color and texture, with layers of detail that invite viewers to linger and explore. From the intricate patterns adorning the costumes to the expressive faces of the characters, every element is intended to seduce the viewer into topsy-turvy world of the circus. But beneath the surface spectacle lay deeper questions about acceptance and self-expression. Through the fantastical lens of the circus, I explore themes of identity, hybridity, and the abject, challenging the idea of selfhood. In a world that often seeks to categorize and define us, the characters of "Cirko Bizzaro" serve as a reminder of the pleasures to be found in our quirks and idiosyncrasies. As you make your way through "Cirko Bizzaro," I ask you to open your mind to the possibilities of the strange and the wonderful, as well as the ugly and distressing. Allow yourself to inhabit a world where the ordinary is turned upside down. Whether you find yourself laughing with anxious delight, or shivering with a familiar unease, remember that in the world of the circus, there is room for every part of you. So step right up, ladies and gentlemen, “boys and girls”, and especially those of us who are in-between, and join me on this adventure of the imagination I call "Cirko Bizzaro." Leave your preconceptions and judgements at the door and prepare to be amazed, for in this world of weird and cutesque characters, anything is possible. Welcome to the circus of the bizarre, where the only limit is your imagination.

- Dianna "Coco Loco" Bonder

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