Artist creates ‘Visions of Pittsburgh’ with material connection to its past
Artist Cory Bonnet has a fascination with “contemporary nostalgia”: things that are still here, landmarks that tie Pittsburgh to its industrial past as it rolls on toward the future.
“The inherent beauty of the city and its surrounding neighborhoods have inspired me since I was a kid,” Bonnet says. “I want my paintings to reflect the innovation, optimism and beauty of Pittsburgh.”
That beauty will be on display this month at Bonnet’s Shehady Gallery, 1421 Penn Ave. in the city’s Strip District neighborhood.
This connection between past and future is not just a theme, but a practice in his work. Bonnet is a LEED-accredited professional, and as such is in a unique position to incorporate actual pieces of the past into his art.
Working exclusively with reclaimed and salvaged raw materials, he transforms hardwood doors, stainless steel panels and fallen trees into works of art, bringing creative reuse and sustainability to his projects. One example in the show is a piece he created on a steel panel salvaged from the demolished Civic Arena.
Bonnet earned a bachelor’s degree in drawing and a minor in art history from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1998. He was also named “2017 Preservationist of the Year” by the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh.