Skip to content


Desert of the Real

June 3 – July 26, 2014

BONNIE MAYGARDEN ||| Desert of the Real, [Main Gallery Installation View]
BONNIE MAYGARDEN ||| Desert of the Real, [Main Gallery Installation View]
BONNIE MAYGARDEN ||| Desert of the Real, [Main Gallery Installation View]
BONNIE MAYGARDEN ||| Desert of the Real, [Main Gallery Installation View]
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Desert of the Real, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Black and Blue Velvet, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Flatten Layers, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Curve Appeal, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Green Screen, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Impossible Cool, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN #rosesjustbecause, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Saturation, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Shift Happens, 2014
BONNIE MAYGARDEN Shadowscape, 2014

Press Release

Jonathan Ferrara Gallery is proud to announce Desert of the Real, new paintings by artist Bonnie Maygarden.  The exhibition will be on view from 2 June through 31 July 2014 with an opening reception on Saturday, 7 June from 6-9pm. For her debut solo exhibition at the gallery, Maygarden explores modern society’s relationship with the contemporary image. As a painter, she has long been absorbed by traditional means of artistic creation. However, Maygarden’s new body of work responds to the immersion of the digital experience and the consequential shift in how one perceives and experiences images; unique, handmade objects have been replaced by digital images that are ever accessible, infinitely replicated, intangible and disposable. Through painting, Maygarden’s unique works possess an abstract illusionistic quality, confounding the viewer with a seemingly computer-generated aesthetic.

Maygarden says of this new body of work . . . We experience so much of our new reality through the glow of the digital screen, and in 1983, French theorist Jean Baudrillard was quick to underline this phenomenon in its primeval stages. In Simulations he states, “It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal.” Baudrillard predicted that the simulations of reality created by our culture will become more real to us than reality itself, and furthermore he believed our culture would become a “desert of the real”. Through my work, I am interested in uprooting our expectations and perceptions about technology-based images by creating handmade works that feel as though they were produced though the aid of technology. This shift from screen to reality creates an awareness of the lack of unique physical presence that we have come to expect in our culture.   

By taking nontraditional approaches to painting I can reference the history of painting as well as the aesthetic of our present culture. Like the digital screen, a pictorial space is created in my paintings that is simultaneously rendered and definitively flat. The crumple imagery is both a direct reference to the disposable nature of contemporary images, as well as a play on the trompe l'oeil found in traditional painting and photography. Light and color function as a way to describe nonexistent form as well as alluding to the screen's self-emanating glow.

Through excess and access, the digital revolution has undoubtedly changed our culture, our relationship to reality, and the function of the image. The images produced and consumed by our culture are no longer a product of our reality, but define it. Through my work, I use painting as a tool to not only understand the new role of images but the role of art. 

BONNIE MAYGARDEN is a multimedia artist who recently earned her MFA in Studio Arts from Tulane University. The destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 motivated her to leave New Orleans to pursue art. She attended Pratt Institute in New York earning her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in 2010.  Her work has been featured in exhibitions both nationally and internationally in various museums, galleries and alternative venues including: Université Lumière Lyons (Lyons, France), Pratt Institute, Icosahedron Gallery (New York City), East Hall Gallery (Brooklyn), SALTWORKS (Atlanta), The Front (New Orleans) and New Orleans Creative Center for the Arts.

Several notable publications have featured Maygarden’s work: Gambit Weekly, NOLA DEFENDER, and INVADE NOLA. Curator and art critic Tori Bush featured Maygarden’s Master’s thesis exhibition “Hyper Real” in her May 2013 Artist Spotlight. She also received an honorable mention for her work in UNO Visual Arts Leagues Juried Exhibition in 2013 from Miranda Lash, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Most recently, her work was reviewed in ArtForum and Burnaway for her inclusion in “Staring at the Sun” curated by Craig Drennan at SALTWORKS in Atlanta. In 2014, her work has been selected to be in the New American Paintings, No. 112, June/July Issue. 

Her work is in the collection of Advantage Capital Management Corporation and she has been commissioned for Hollywood feature films by several production companies including: ABC Studios, Flashfire Productions, Georgia Film Fund Seven, Abby Normal Pictures, Lamb Productions and The Goats, LLC.

Maygarden lives and works in New Orleans, LA and is represented by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery.