The Art of Bonnie Vierthaler

"Beauty is love made visible - the ultimate beauty is Light. By looking for beauty, by creating beauty, by sharing beauty, we transform ourselves and those we touch…together we approach the Light."                 Bonnie Vierthaler May, 2010

About the Art -                                   Prayers Made Visible

This new body of artwork is a visual offering of prayers and meditations to uplift the spirit and heal the ills of the planet. Hopefully they'll be a source of calm and grace in these difficult times....

Each piece has 3 elements...

The prayer

The painting, done's the visual manifestation of the prayer.

The photography of the prayer/painting, done in different lights from different’s more like choreography, moving with the camera as the light interacts with the pigment and the paper to reflect the essence and the spirit of the prayer.

When the light hits the surface of the paper, the process goes to a whole new level, illuminating the painting in a magical, mystical way that's very exciting to me.

The illumination of the painting becomes the embodiment of the prayer. Is it the light devas dancing between the colors, opening the door to another world and transporting us to a place beyond our earthly existence?

Or is it the energy of the prayer itself, finding its own expression?

Where is the muse in all of this? What is the role of the artist?

And how much is in the eye of the beholder?

Please come back often to see the prayer/paintings as they unfold, and join in as we explore these various mysteries of life. If you would like to be notified as new images are added to the site, please click here.

How to Use the Art

For Personal Use: Prayers Made Visible comes from a desire to infuse the world with beautiful images and uplifting energies; to share the Light and point the way to a better world. If they touch your heart, use them and share them freely for personal projects, screen savers, slide shows, greeting cards, camera phone screens, etc. Just give credit to Prayers Made Visible. Thanks.

For Commercial Use: Like Tibetan prayer flags, sending their prayers out into the world, I hope to send these images and prayers out into the world by making them available for fabric design, surface design, cover art, display panels, fashion and interior design, concert backdrops, greeting cards, etc.

To insure the highest quality, please get in touch with me for the high-resolution images. Click here.

About the Site

The artwork on the site is shown in 2 parts: my new work, Prayers Made Visible, and my Early Works.

Bio (a little history of my early work)

My career as a visual artist took off when I discovered weaving and fabric design in 1969. Within 6 months, I had won the Best of Show award in a highly regarded exhibition. The early fabric pieces were mostly 3-dimensional, sensual, and pushing at the limits of the medium…weaving traditional patterns using plexiglas rods and clear fishing line, for example. While most of the early pieces were simply studies in color and texture, often the titles that came to me were cosmic and visionary; glimpses into things to come. But my passion for making the world a better place was rooted in social commentary…pointing out and lamenting over the flaws in human nature and our earthly existence. This could be seen especially in three significant bodies of work:

The Feminine Hang-up (1972) was an exhibition of 9 fabric banners in the shape of female figures. They hung by the wrists and flapped in the breeze. Each was accompanied by a free verse commentary on the plight of women in this society. Whatcha got in the box, little girl? (1975) consisted of 5 richly covered fabric boxes depicting the stages of life that women are programmed to go through. Lifting the cover of each box and looking inside gave a deeper insight into the experience of being a woman.

Later, working as a CETA Artist for the City of Seattle, a simple sketch that reminded me of rubber led to a series of 15’ suspended triangular pieces woven with strips of recycled inner tubing. Curious about making art with other industrial scrap materials, I abandoned weaving altogether to fully explore the materials. This work, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and sponsored by Allied Arts of Seattle, became the Works in Rubber series (1976-1979).

During that time, even though I was actively exhibiting and selling my artwork, serving as artist-in-residence for schools, corporations, and the City of Seattle, receiving grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, serving on art juries, speaking on panels, and getting plenty of media coverage, something was missing.

In an epiphanic moment in 1979, my work loomed large as simply a reaction to the world around me; useless in the face of the real role of the artist…to be out in front, leading the way, creating a subtle blueprint for a beautiful, harmonious world. But how? Not knowing, and not wanting to burden the world with any more useless stuff, I vowed not to make any more art until the way became clear, and so began a lifelong spiritual journey….

In 1985, with one foot still anchored in social commentary, I broke my vow of abstinence from art to take on the tobacco companies’ deceitful advertising campaigns. The result was “The Joy of Smoking…A Spoof on Cigarette Advertising”, a lively exhibit of 63 collages that used powerful ads from medical journals, pasted on top of the deceitful tobacco ads, to tell the truth about smoking. I traveled with the exhibit to schools, hospitals, libraries, parks, and shopping malls all over the East Coast. Within months the images were on the front page of the American Medical News and hanging in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building. In 1987 The BADvertising Institute was created to make the images available to the doctors, teachers, and health educators who were asking for them. I began offering BADvertising Workshops in the schools so that the kids could experience creating their own honest ads. That was so successful that BADvertising Train-the-Trainer Seminars were created to expand the reach of BADvertising.

Eventually this counter-advertising approach was mandated by the CDC, and State Health Departments and large voluntary organizations were creating their own powerful counter-ads and videos. The movement was in good hands, so in 2000 I tiptoed out of the country and began the work anew, taking on the role of a Spoken English teacher in China and quietly planting the seeds for tobacco prevention in a land where they have more smokers than America has people, and tobacco accounts for 10% of the economy. (Update: I just heard that all schools in China are going smoke-free on Jan 18, 2015) But that’s a whole different story…

Once settled in China, I began exploring new avenues for my own artistic expression. After several years of color studies with oil pastels, my Prayers Made Visible series finally began to emerge.

Now, thirty years later, the time has come. Life’s journey has burnished my art with a sense of light and inner peace that finally seem worthy of sharing.

If the soothing, uplifting energies of my new Prayers Made Visible images don’t yet lead the way, at least they might point in the right direction.

Let’s look to the light and take the journey together…

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