Gianmaria Bonà


Gianmaria Bonà (Perego, 08/05/1954) lives and works in Colle Brianza, Lecco.
He acquired his high school diploma in 1974 at the Istituto Parini in Lecco and directed the entrepreneurial activity inherited from his father.
His passion for the arts and architecture led him to attend the artistic circles of Milan, where he had the opportunity to meet well-known artists, architects, stylists and critics.
After that, he began to devote himself full time to painting and artistic research and he inaugurated his first solo exhibition 1982 in Asti, with a flattering success in terms of public and sales.
In the meantime, he met the curative master Felice Bossone and strengthened a fruitful friendship with him, bringing him to regularly attend his studio.
His last watercolour works were submitted to the well-known militant critic and talent scout Lorenzo Bonini, who ordered a personal travelling exhibition entitled: "Sixty-nine intimate watercolours" at the historic Schubert Gallery in Milan.
Since his watercolours paintings’ success, Bonà broadens his horizons in the search for abstract painting that convinces its curator to collect and publish in the catalogue most of the works produced: "Tsunami" is the apt title of the critical essay that brings him to the attention of the official critics.
In 2012, he began his experience as a sculptor with significant works strongly imbued with pathos, who have led him to produce sculptural symbols used by well-known car manufacturers to reward the winning drivers and public moral bodies.
He left the provincial ranks with a large anthological exhibition in Panama at the Trump Hotel.
In his new catalogue called: "The spirit of painting", he shows us the results of his latest research on the "abstract" painting’s soul, using a new and surprising technique.
Artistic expression: Expressionism, informal lyrical abstractionism, mixed media.
You can find his works in in public and private collections in Italy and abroad (Russia, Brazil, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Romania, Poland and England).


1982 AstiGalleria Manzetti - Drawings and watercolours.
1984 Pesaro Galleria Penelope - Mixed media works.
1987 Acqui Terme Gallery Passe-partout oil works.
1990 Grosseto Galleria del Buttero - Landscape works.
1998 Bibione (Ve) Sala Grand Hotel Marina Blu - Marine watercolours and coastal landscapes.
2000 Extemporary Exhibition in Chioggia.
2004 Exhibition Albarella Island (August '04- Owest Hotel)
2010 Schubert Gallery Milan - Sixty-nine intimate watercolours - latest works.
2011 Palazzo Municipale Merate – Tsunami, New pictorial identity
2011 Area Cazzaniga Merate - Tsunami New pictorial identity
2012 Spoleto Art
2013 Panama Trump Gallery
2014 Panama Trump Gallery
2015 EXPO Milan
2016 Hotel 38 Milan
2017 Red's Hotel Permanent exhibition
2017 Realization for ACI Milan trophies Mille Miglia Monza and Trofeo Rally show
2017 Sculpture for Carabinieri force
2018 FuoriSalone Galleriaa Monopoli
2018 Parma Art, Albanese Arte
2018 Padua Art, Albanese Arte

Group exhibitions:

1987 Pittori e la montagna Cogne (AO).
1988 Pittori ad Aprica (SO).
1996 Painting prize of Morbegno (SO).
2000 City of Baiso (RE) Award.
2001 Extemporary Imperial Palace Santa Margherita Ligure (GE) Award.

Art criticism
Critics who wrote about Gianmaria Bonà:

Angelo Baiguini, Vittorio Sgarbi, Giusi Spezzaferri, Lorenzo Bonini, Felice Bossone, Francesco Zampieri, Laura Civetti, Angelo Dragone, Franco Brasca, Daniele Colombo.
The art critic Lorenzo Bonini writes about the new artistic period of Bonà:
Gianmaria Bonà’s recent research and, I refer essentially to the works of the recent years, has implemented in an interesting study path in both painting and sculpture.
The passage from modular- structural techniques is striking; his work is a multi-frames system, with frames placed one above the other with a spiral movement that give a concrete meaning to the composite elements.
The frames contain a painted panel filled with an imaginative monochrome colour, such as gold background at the base with acids’ interventions, distributed and controlled on the surface with manual brush strokes.

The artist had already experimented the approach to modulating and structural themes as a basis opposing formal articulations. They aim to hold the viewer’s hand and put him in a more critical system of vision, letting him judge every work for what it really is: a show set up not for the eye but for the mind.

In this way Gianmaria Bonà follows one of the different possible ways of challenging contemporary-merceological art, in its disparate ramifications.
It is at this moment that his path marks what could appear as a reversal of course, which is the passage from a critical denial to a poetic construction and a positive idea.

In that space detoxified by epidermal presences and accumulations of passively received thoughts, he has been placing organized signs both in relation to his own internal laws of self-regulation and to extraordinary lyrical-psychological suggestions. These aspects are connected to a line of inquiry in the emotional and the background pre-conscious sphere, for a perfect evocation of an abstract reality.
Therefore, all the formal criticisms of the previous phase are now used to construct unreal personal facts that are compromised with the moods and ideas of the artist himself as a man.

The informal is above all the methodological key to a self-investigation that allows him to use creativity as a specific means to access the unconscious and make his most hidden self-re-emerge. Executing completely abstract forms and without any relevance to the knowable means knowing how to free oneself from the naturalistic limits of representation, to privilege the chromatic game and, above all, the interpretative freedom of states of mind . Associating and imposing himself to the gaze without conceptual or theoretical mediation, the visual effects of his works correspond to the very substance of his instinctive relationship with the materiality of the painting’s spirit.

The themes of elsewhere are represented by the tonal vibrations of the acids’ colours, by the chromatic lamentations and by the liquid waterfalls on the gold-coloured surface of the support; they all represent the poetic part of Gianmaria Bonà. In their swarming underlined by the tender and spiritual quality, at the same time acidulous of the colour, these works deserve a careful reading. Precisely because they reject the communicative ease of the artistic languages in use today; the suggestions need an adequate reading time that they oppose to cultural consumerism.

Polemics and why not? There is really no fear of this word, these works summon the user to an act that is as critical as that of previous research, but that nevertheless propose a more direct involvement. I am thinking, for example, of how well he has been able to represent the field of painting in the works examined today, eliminating its typical well-founded colour shades, but focusing on a widespread, refined and polite endemic pictorial spirituality , which develops and contributes to carrying out cultural itineraries articulated by avant-garde experiments.

Gianmaria Bonà is fully acknowledged as a tenacious artist in his beautiful Brianza and I do not think that this is a small result. We hope that, precisely on the occasion of this exhibition, he will receive a magniloquent praise from critics and the discerning public.

Lorenzo Bonini,
art critic, curator, journalist, court consultant

The editorial director, journalist and politician Angelo Baiguini writes about the new artistic period of Bonà:

Gianmaria Bonà returns and surprises. Once again the artist from Brianza continues his tortuous search, made of stubbornness and courage. He does so by going beyond. His approach is a physical "going beyond", which goes beyond the art’s boundaries as we have understood it until today. His new works, in fact, go beyond the borders of the "canvas" to involve the frame as well, demonstrating how the traditional space, now goes close to the artist from Brianza.
The work is therefore born and developed together with its support, which becomes an essential accessory.
It is a real demonstration of Bonà's need to occupy new spaces, going beyond the "simple" work of art.
The artist also uses new techniques and materials to experiment with new horizons, where the "canvas" as we imagine it, gives way to metal, a noble material that hardly welcomes the imprinting of the hand of the artist.

And it is for this reason that Gianmaria Bonà entrusts the "acids" with the task of giving a soul to the cold metal surface. She leaves to the "base" and to the "colour" the freedom to find the right balance, through exclusive and unprecedented forms and images. Even this, which would already be enough to testify to the courage of an extreme search, does not fully satisfy the artist, who feels the need to bring out a strong "sign".
He still uses metal in its most liquid version, in order to create forms that mark the work.

What characterizes his work is the need to escape, which often refers to an external object, indissolubly linked with its forms to the central work.
Bonà’s works propagate from the "canvas" to the frame and then look for a meeting point extreme, but at the same time tied through the forms, like an invisible umbilical cord that unites the mother with its creature.

It is clear that Gianmaria Bonà has embarked on a new path , a path of which today he himself struggles to glimpse the point of arrival. A path that is, however, already written in the form of a fire on his artistic vein.

Angelo Baiguini,
Editor-in-Chief, journalist and politician

Gianmaria Bonà, the long journey into matter
Painting, works on leather, acids on metal: the atelier of the artist from Brianza, in Santa Maria Hoè, is a kaleidoscopic path of research into the secrets of things.

The village of Santa Maria Hoè is in the heart of Brianza, where the Celts left traces of their settlement. To the south, you can find the Curone Park, a protected naturalistic oasis; to the north the Pre-Alps, with the San Genesio that exceeds 800 metres. To reach Gianmaria Bonà's atelier, climb up from steep streets. Gemma, the family business that has been producing photo albums for over fifty years, is right in front of us.

It welcomes us with courtesy. The cerulean eye transmits a dreamy, distant look. But in reality it hides fire under the ashes. "I should be a little quiet: I'm too volcanic, I keep experimenting with new materials, solutions, pigments".

He shows us the latest works on metal, gold anodized aluminium on which monochromatic fluorescent enamels are flashing. "I work with various types of acids that I don't reveal. Nobody uses this technique. In some cases, I apply a sculpture, in manual casting, of various types of metal, bronze, brass, aluminium". It strikes the system of multi-frames, a slender composition, in fir or larch. "It is part of the work. Each one is assembled and coloured manually. I give form and movement; it is never the same". Informal, abstract: Bonà is tight with every definition, from which he escapes to close himself in his lyrical universe.

Let's continue the visit in the 300 square meters of the atelier. Cubist shaped aluminium lamps, brass fish, bronze statues , recalling the mysterious anthropomorphic stelae of Lunigiana; leather, fabrics, pure gold and silver leaf, leather with glimpses reminiscent of Burri, iron: there is no material that is not used. Almost a desire to penetrate the secrets of matter.

"The dearest friend" is made by taking inspiration from emoticons with 100 hearts on the body. It was exhibited at the Fuori Salone in Milan, as the "Egg of Life", in bronze, which recalls the female organ. Eros always filters to the surface. As in the hermaphrodite trees, always in bronze.

Bonà is a multifaceted artist, who needs to probe all artistic disciplines, always looking for an elsewhere. "I have also made some creations for fashion".

He shows us the canvases. He has created thousands of works. "I stay in the atelier even until late-night. I’ve never understood the difference between creative, artist, designer, interior designer". One of the paintings is made only with curcuma powder, fixed with a catalysed clear coat. "I wanted to do something for a restaurant," says sly.

More sculptures, he stops in front of a work. "They have not yet managed to copy it for me: the fusion of brass and aluminium at the same time. Aluminium has a lighter specific weight than brass and melts at a much higher temperature. Here they are fused together. I work with certain sculptures even "in negative" with single-stage casting," he points out.

We ask him what he thinks about not having finished the Faculty of Architecture. "I had taken half of all the exams. I stopped there because there was work to be done in the company, but I did many things.
I also worked as an art photographer 40 years ago (my father was a photographer). I took a course at John Kaverdash, where I learned a lot.

We will focus on two particular sculptures. The first is a crucified Jesus Christ: apparently classical. In reality, an irreverent middle finger of the Savior appears, on the wave of other similar and famous gestures, from that of Alessandro Cattelan in front of the Milan Stock Exchange, to that of David Černý, floating on the Vltava, in Prague. "I created it seven years ago: Christ was a beautiful and cultured man: he was not understood". Next to it, there is another iconoclastic work, which winks at Francis Bacon: a bishop with a face replaced by a backside.

One has to get lost in the realizations. Furniture, tables, chairs, sofas. "I also make bags. They are in Tuscan leather, engraved and painted by hand. Lapo Elkann made me parade, I sold them in Spain. With my work I have been in contact with all the materials - he says -. I carved leather with a fire pyrograph, to make the albums I used satin and leather. Then I created many hand-painted aluminium covers: I will have made 7 thousand with spray cans".

He would talk endlessly, but we block him trying to snatch some secrets about his works. "These are moments. I don't look at anyone. I am self-taught. I went to Verona to see a contemporary art exhibition and I came out as if I hadn't seen anything. Of course the classics remain the same. I appreciate painting more.”

Before leaving the atelier, he shows us more works in progress , a special trolley for transporting bottles of magnum sparkling wine, and sketches of labels. It shows us some photos. One of his plexiglas and leather armchairs on display at the Monza racetrack, the heart for Farinetti's Eataly, the egg for the Expo. "It took me a week for almost three quintals of plaster. We leave the atelier and he shows us his villa, sheltered from the winds, from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the valley. Next to his house, there an extraordinary tree house he designed and completely furnished for those who want to feel a bit like a "Baron in the trees". It's a long journey into matter, that has no end.

Daniele Colombo
professional journalist