Dover's Joseph Bodnar

Artist spotlight: Putting abstract art into focus

Union Leader Correspondent
October 04. 2017 1:21PM
Dover artist Joseph Bodnar stands next to red-framed easels of his colorful abstract works. Bodnar will be displaying and selling paintings at the Apple Harvest Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday downtown. Above is the cover image of Bodnar’s Bananafish Arts’ Facebook page. 

DOVER — Dover artist Joseph Bodnar’s more than 25 years of experience is showcasing his abstract paintings, prints, stationary and a book of poetry about falling in love at local artisan fairs on the Seacoast.

Next up is the Apple Harvest Day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday downtown.

“The event was first held in 1985 and now draws more than 50,000 people to the City of Dover’s downtown,” according to the event’s Facebook page.

Harvest Day will feature food, concerts, dance and theater performances and 400 craft vendors selling their wares. In addition, a 5K road race will kick off at 8:30 a.m. on River Street and end on Washington Street.

Although Bodnar is new to the fair and festival circuit, he started painting while living in New York City in 1992.

“I used to frequent the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was thrilled by the Van Gogh paintings. I was in such awe, and that was my inspiration to have, someday, pieces in a museum of some sort or to live a life like Van Gogh did,” Bodnar said.

His paintings have become more abstract since he really started to focus on his work in 2000.

“There’s different styles of painting that I do,” he said. “One is where I draw lines ... and I color them in. There’s other paintings where I go free-form with the brush — the brush goes and I start coloring in from there.”

Over the years, Bodnar has been commissioned to do work by Community Partners, which has locations in Dover and Rochester.

Through that association, he participated in a program called “Expressions of Color from the Heart” in 2008. That was supported through a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company.

“I painted ‘Last Call for Fall’ for Wendy Winslow over at Community Partners, and she had two other people commission me to do two separate pieces, ‘French Pub’ and ‘French Café.’

“This last one was displayed in a home that was set up for viewing to be sold,” he added. “The other, an abstract, was among a few commissioned by the Lauze family for Brenda Lauze’s husband for his birthday and was displayed at the McConnell Center in Dover for a month along with six other large pieces.”

Plans to expand his reach have been in the works for more than a year. In 2016, Bodnar created a series of greeting cards that were sold wholesale to Sweet Meadows and The Flower Room in Dover, The Outback and Red Carpet Florist in Durham and Westwind Gardens in Somersworth, he said.

This year’s greeting card series is called “Shoulder Love” and the title piece is a birthday card for Bodnar’s fiancée, Michelle Alley, of Dover. She also is the inspiration for his book of poetry, called, “50 Drops of Enlightenment.”

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