Bree Jonson Is Immortalized in Her Work

© Provided by Esquire Philippines

The Philippine art community lost a vivid young spirit in Bree Jonson, who at only 30 years old, passed away over the weekend in La Union. 

Jonson, an industrial engineering graduate from Ateneo de Davao University, entered the art scene after enrolling at the UP College of Fine Arts. Despite not completing her degree, Jonson went on to become a respected artist who exhibited in Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, and the Philippines. Her works have been displayed at solo exhibits at Art Informal, Underground Gallery, and West Gallery; group exhibits at Silverlens, Tin-aw Gallery, and Mo Space; at museums such as the BenCab Museum and UP Vargas Museum; and at art fairs such as Art Fair Philippines and Sydney Contemporary Art Fair. 

She was best known for her masterful skill at depicting nature in her works, always conscious to never anthropomorphize her perception of the wild. Through her art, Jonson championed and paid tribute to Philippine flora and fauna in a time where nature is often relegated to a secondary role in society. 

Jonson thought otherwise—she recognized the growing divide between humans and their environment and moved to close the gap through her art to depict the invisible ties that bind everything on the planet. 

Leon Gallery remembers her “unique visual language” as “a novel critique of our intuitive sense of anthropocentrism amidst our ever-expanding knowledge of nature and the world.”

Her art moved many people and dared, even more, to see the world in a new light, one that recognized the viciousness and vulnerability in the wildlife around us, in a way not so dissimilar from how we view humanity. 

One of her last shows was her ZZYZX exhibit at Art Informal in 2021, where Jonson honored the Philippines’ endangered birds in pieces that depicted the chaos and order of nature.

In an interview with Art and Market, perhaps her last in life, Jonson spoke of her hopes for a more inclusive art community, both locally and regionally. As an artist who had exhibited in several countries in the Asia Pacific, she dreamed of a greater art community that championed collaboration, openness, and inclusion. 

As for her greatest piece of advice for artists and admirers alike, Jonson said, “Take a leap. To learn to believe is to suspend one’s disbelief. Take a leap into the unknown, get lost in the forest of your passion, let it break you, and put you back together again. It is all part of the process in your own becoming.” 

The Philippine art community unites in their mourning of the talented young artist’s passing. 

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