Dist of Columbia

Artist's statement

Full Artist's statement

Non-representative work attracts me because it is the evocation of something familiar that I seek. I work from what I have seen translated into form – often from the urban or natural landscape that I observe. The ethereal qualities of the materials I choose focuses my work on what is all around us. It strikes the viewer as organically familiar, but not entirely corporeal, or if corporeal, it is magnified a thousand-fold. Essentially my work is spatial, about seeing what cannot be seen, finding your place within the world around us. It is about looking so closely that you lose sight of visual reference points.

From large, fluid watercolors in the 1980s, to the labor-intensive, larger wax-based process of the present, my focus has always been on the interplay of color, transparency, texture and form. I am process-driven and my work is often about pushing the materials. The work operates between the familiar and the indefinite, and speaks to viewers beyond the perceptual filters within cultural, religious, political, and artistic traditions. My imagination allows me to make something new of the world around me.

Currently, wax, shellac and inks are interleaved to make very thin paintings (on very thin industrial surfaces) look like they hold worlds of depth. The wax layers are interlaced with tinted shellac and/or ink layers to amplify the depth of the work. Brushes are used to swiftly paint the molten wax onto the prepared panel, often only a few strokes at a time, for the wax cools very quickly. Tinted shellac is applied to some or all of the surface, dried, and parts are burned away with a torch leaving the designs you see. They are intended to work in groups with the grids composed to harmonic dialogues of nearly infinite permutations. It is this chattering conversation, the abstraction of linear and organic forms, the symphonic beauty of the painting as object that compels me.

My central series since 2011 (Permutations Toward Infinity) offer a Mandelbrot fractal-like beauty. To explain the permutations: for example, each group of nine images presents a virtually infinite potential of visual patterns. Each grid of nine, not just interchangeable but rotatable to all four orientations, can be rearranged into a vast number of aesthetically viable patterns—with the absolute permutations from any single grid being over 95 billion (N!*4N = 95,126,814,720).

Why is this cool to me? Because it means there are other solutions, other viewpoints than the one I might present, which is one of my tenets of life. It also means that you could rearrange this grid every hour of every day of your life without repeating. It means that our ways of observing are infinitely beautiful.

Additional info

Visit artist's website

All work by Sondra