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Traffic Zone – Phatic Food – An Exhibition by Bonnie Heller

September 7, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Traffic Zone Gallery presents Phatic Food, an exhibition of paintings by Bonnie Heller. Phatic is an adjective for “speech used to express or create an atmosphere of shared feelings, good will and sociability.” For decades Bonnie Heller’s work has included foods in celebratory situations — still lifes with misshapen fruit overflowing bowls, tabletop landscapes and most notably and consistently — cakes. Lushly frosted or plain, cakes and the celebrations surrounding them are filled with the goodwill and joy of conversation. Phatic Food extends the metaphor to other foods — soups, wines, full meals and always cakes. In this group of paintings, emphasis switches back to the people seated at tables — gesturing, talking, arguing, communicating with each other over the playground of food.

August 26 – October 4, 2019

Gallery hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily and by appointment

Public Reception: Saturday, September 7, 6:00 – 9:30 pm

Free and open to the public



Parking is available in Minneapolis City Parking Ramp C off of 3rd Avenue and at meters on the street.

Artist statement

I regard myself as a communicator and I am always attempting to share, with my viewer, my impression of the world. So far, that impression always includes people. Even when the subject matter seems inanimate, it is still human and reflects the presence of people. I simply allow the vitality of that humanity to come out in my art. Vivid color, brushstroke and composition are all guided by the human spirit of my subjects.

My work revolves around the constant struggle to understand how it is we survive. The growth and regrowth of the plants, the organic nature of the fruits of the earth in the still lifes, the spurting of life from mangy brown bulbs in ordinary clay pots, the hopeful, but mysterious windows which often emerge in my work are all obvious symbols of that struggle. The cakes, which arrived unbidden in the still lifes and began to take on a life of their own, call to mind the celebrations and time markings in all people’s lives — birthdays, anniversaries weddings, confirmation, gatherings after funerals, holidays, every days. Whether fabulously frosted and tantalizing lush or plain, sturdy and steadfast, these cakes take us through life’s rituals. Since cake is rarely eaten alone, the community that shares it is a vital piece of that cycle.

Traffic Zone Mission Statement

Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art supports the work of mid-career professional artists with high-quality, affordable studios and the engagement of audiences with gallery exhibitions, open studio events, art classes and workshops.


September 7, 2019
6:00 pm - 9:30 pm


Traffic Zone Center for Visual Arts
250 3rd Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN 55401 United States
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