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Roberto Bonilla Ryan

1947 – 2001,

Aibonito, P.R.

Artistic trajectory:

Painter and writer known as Roberto Bonilla Ryan studied at the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture’s School of Plastic Arts. During his formative years he studied the artistic currents of the twentieth century; and became attuned to the intellectual and plastic avant-guard proposals. He studied the art proposals of the pivotal figures of the mid-20th century that transformed concept and execution of the art of painting: Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning, Jean Tinguely and Franz Kline. He practiced a nonfigurative style fortified by a vigorous gestural expressive execution. Within his technical repertoire he resorted to spontaneous brush stroke, dripping and spray paint application to achieve his plastic objectives. His aesthetic and conceptual proposal were in line with Action painting and Abstract Expressionism.  

Executed profound intention:

Bonilla Ryan lived a passionate and bohemian life…short life! He was affined to Jazz and literature. His work contains references to his much interest, in an ample range of themes, including religious and oriental philosophy. Some of his works are studies about the spiritual concepts of Zen, the practice of contemplation, and the law of Dharma and Karma.

Artistic freedom:

Painting gave him a sense of freedom that is evident in his execution.  Resorting to a forceful gestural and fragmented brush stroke, he created metaphoric allusions of celestial bodies that embody his narrative and are recurrent symbols

of his iconography.

Puerto Rico’s 2nd. Abstract Movement:  

Bonilla Ryan belongs to the second generation of Puerto Rican abstract artists, together with Julio Suárez, Wilfredo Chiesa, and Jaime Romano. Throughout his artistic career, shortened buy premature death, he participated in over thirty collective exhibitions and held only two individual exhibitions. A retrospective posthumous art exhibition of his paintings was held in March of 2002 at the Art Gallery of the University of Sacred Heart in San Juan, PR. He is recognized by the art critics and scholars alike. His emphatic and masterful artistic proposal, has earned him a seat of honor in the history of Puerto Rican Art.

Recognition awards:

 In 1969, he received an Honorable Mention in Drawing in the Christmas Contest at the “Ateneo Puertorriqueño”, and in 1981 and 1983 he received the UNESCO Honorable Mention in San Juan.


René Castillo Ramos Copyright © 2015

Roberto Bonilla Ryan, Cristo wix SOLD co

“El Cristo de Angürnist”

In this Painting, Bonilla Ryan offers his  mysterious vision of the resurrected Jesus, spreading illumination over the shadows of darkness.  Reassuring light emanates from the Christ’s open arms. The Savior’s vibrant pure intentions penetrate the darkness to enlighten and dissipate the hidden refuge of the occult.   

Original painting. Created by means of dynamic gestural brush and palette strokes, over latex spattered heavy board. Contact us for value.


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