|Using the image of bodies as the sole focus of large canvases confers a huge amount of power upon the subject; whilst Michael claims no reason for
painting them, other than transference of ideas to oils, there are strikingly emotive observations, individual to each canvas.
Perhaps this is to convey the attitudes of the artist to the viewer? Michael Onona wants you to look at the picture absolutely at face value, to take it as it is, and appreciate it for the aesthetic. Yet this is nigh impossible - the images are compelling, mysterious, drawing you to the stories behind their existence.
As a self taught artist this can be seen as surprising, everything that
Onona has learnt has been from experience. The abortive
studies in art history have a clear impact on his work, from the vaulted
angle of the subjects to the sometimes flattened or geometric composition
of the paintings.
His models are “read” by him, and have a direct input into the work; their
mood being absorbed by Onona as onlooker and contributing to the different
feel of each series of paintings. Onona sees each image in his mind and
sets out to find the person who can fill that feeling and offer a piece of
tangible soul to the piece.
It is this connection between his work and the viewer, which Onona revels in, the knowledge that something he has created has touched a nerve in someone, somewhere.