Bonnie Lucas

N is for Nice

New Works (2016-2018)

February 3 - April 1  2018

Opening Reception  Saturday 3 February 5-8 pm


"I grew up in Syracuse, in New York, in a time girls were very circumscribed...'sugar and spice and everything nice and that is what little girls are made of.' I had a pink bedroom filled with pretty dolls and lace curtains. I loved this stuff, but I also knew that as a girl and young woman, I was not particularly sugary or nice. In fact, just being sexual and growing up in that environment made me feel completely alien to what a girl was. And, my mom never once talked about things like menstruation or sex. So I was baffled and ashamed but went ahead anyway being the real girl that I was and I turned it all into art. I guess the strange shame and pain that I felt was transformed into images that are beautiful, strange, not nice, complicated, and funny. I think that is what life in general is like. You see, one is told what one should be and do and feel but that is only one part of the story. I kind of knew when I was young that I had a story to tell and I wanted to tell it. I embraced the Feminist Movement in the late 1960’s and felt vindicated and powerful." 


MILLER is pleased to present Bonnie Lucas: N is for Nice, a solo exhibition of new works. Comprised of thirty-six painted plaster plaques embedded with purchased objects, N is for Nice explores a range of subjects relating to femininity, motherhood, gender, and childhood. These recurring concerns span the length of the artist's forty-five-year practice, during which she has engaged in a range of media including drawing, painting, collage, and assemblage.  

Lucas' compositions magnify and parody the roles that women and children are expected to fulfill, creating imagery that is by turns playful, highly sexualized, dark, and humorous. Coming into artistic maturity at the height of the second-wave feminist movement in New York, Lucas was inspired by figures like Shulamith Firestone, establishing a body of work that turns around the trials and absurdities of gender constructs. In a time when the sociopolitical status of women finds itself in a state of heightened precariousness, Lucas' enduring focus on the trappings of femininity feels more timely than ever.


Bonnie Lucas (b. 1950, Syracuse) is a New York-based artist. She earned her BA in Art History at Wellesley College, and her MFA from Rutgers University. Lucas' work has been exhibited throughout the United States and abroad; recent exhibitions include 99 Cents or Less at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Detroit and a solo exhibition of works from 1980s at JJT New York in 2017. A 40-year survey retrospective of her work opened at Sylvia Wald and Po Kim Gallery, New York, in 2014. Lucas' work has been reviewed in a number of publications including The New York Times, Artforum, Hyperallergic, ArtSlant, Womens Wear Daily, Office Magazine, Urban Memory Project, Timeout,  ARTnews, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, Arts Magazine, and The East Village Eye.  


Image: Pink Tulip, Plaster, Purchased Objects, Oil Paint, 11 x 8 inches, 2017. Courtesy MILLER.

Quote: Lucas Bonnie. β€œBonnie Lucas Interview” 

Text written by Adriana Blidaru