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Street Walking Artist
Artist: Joan Sonnenberg
Artist: Joan Sonnenberg
Opens: January 5th | 6:00pm
Closes: January 26th | 6:00pm – 10:00pm
SBDAC’s Grand Atrium
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I have an addiction. I don’t play cards, I’m not into sports… Art is my life. I don’t miss a day if I can help it. What I see when I’m outside inspires me the most. I enjoy walking every day with a 10 lb. shorkie dog that shows me many areas and things most people overlook as ordinary- some of which become subject matter for my realistic and abstract paintings if I see an interesting texture or pattern. I have the propensity to represent insignificant, mundane objects of life, portraying them powerfully and magnificently in form and color. And, if I see someone with unique qualities – beards, wrinkles, tattoos, and other things that make them unusual… Unusual things inspire me too. At 91.5 I believe in my principle about Art & Life. “There are 2 sides to Everything” I feel that my work echoes this principle as the compositions work well abstractly and realistically. Forms appear to assume new heights of importance and stature through their use of positive and negative spaces and color transitions. I do like to work large. I tighten up when I work small. I like to be explosive. I like large ideas and concepts, and I want the work to jump out. I want people to be brought in. I raised four children and was a good wife and mother, but during that period of time, I was also producing artwork. I never stopped. When we were first married, I painted in the kitchen, which was 9-by-12 feet. I did huge 6-by-9-foot panels across, diagonally. To open the refrigerator door was sometimes a challenge because I’d paint a piece for a couple of months at a time. And I’d have to move the piece to get into the refrigerator!
Every day I look forward to painting and I feel that l learn something with each newly completed work. To me art is an ongoing passion that gives meaning to life – transcending and encompassing the doctrines of abstraction in realism – and realism in abstraction – which harmoniously co-exist in life and art.
Born in 1930 in Chester, Pennsylvania, Joan Brechin Sonnenberg received a youth scholarship to study at the Carnegie Art Institute in Pittsburgh, PA. Her mother, a sculptor and a singer, and father, an industrial engineer who worked on the Manhattan Project, provided major creative influences. Lively conversations often revolved around religion, politics, and the human condition, but invariably, the three found a middle ground.
As a college student at Carnegie Mellon University, Sonnenberg was a staff cartoonist for Tartan, the campus newspaper. After graduation, she continued with independent studies in printmaking techniques.
Joan Sonnenberg has won multiple Best of Show awards throughout her career including in 1976, with exhibitions at the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio. Sonnenberg’s work has been honored with 57 major awards in art exhibitions throughout the United States – Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida, with multiple solo exhibitions from 2004 scheduled through 2024. Jurors include internationally known artists Richard Anuszkiewicz and Faith Ringgold as well as art critics, museum curators, and directors. Her large-scale etchings, paintings, and murals have been included in 18 major corporation collections in Japan, Brazil, and throughout the U.S.
A mother of four grown children, Joan Sonnenberg moved to the east coast of Florida in 1997 and since 2000 has been based in Naples. Petite, but with robust energy and insatiable curiosity, Sonnenberg maintains her lifelong studio practice working every day with sustained vigor. Her daily walks with a canine companion in tow continually inspire new ideas.