Artist Joan Brechin Sonnenberg is 85 years old and still going strong. She works on her art every day. Much of her artwork is, like herself, larger than life. Her pieces range from the abstract to the real to the surreal and her medium of choice is anything she can get her hands on.
“From the age of five I have been interested in the real and imaginary facets of art; always exploring a variety of mediums,” she shares on her website. “I discovered that alternating between realism and abstraction afforded me a new energy application and directional spirit.”
AMU’s Canizaro Library is now hosting an exhibit featuring 21 pieces from Sonnenberg’s collection. Students, faculty, staff and university visitors can walk down the gallery space on the library’s second floor and, for a moment, be transported into this Naples artists’ multifaceted visual world. Sonnenberg’s work is difficult to pass by unnoticed. The pieces on display are large and the bright colors, or lack thereof, seem to demand a response from the viewer.
[Above: Sonnenberg spoke with students and faculty at the opening reception for her exhibit on March 17th.]
Joan Brechin Sonnenberg was born in Chester, PA in 1930. The influence of her time in Pennsylvania’s Rust Belt can be seen in much of her art, with geometric and architectural themes that evoke the landscape of what was once a center of manufacturing in America. Sonnenberg moved to Florida with her husband in the 1990s. The new experience of a tropical landscape, with its year-round vegetation, produced a shift in Sonnenberg’s art. She began focusing on the natural world, but still with an emphasis on architectural details. Sonnenberg eventually introduced portraiture into her repertoire. Today, she paints in a variety of styles across a range of mediums, never restricting herself to any one method and always looking to try something new.
[Below: Some of artist Joan Brechin Sonnenberg’s pieces currently on display at the Canizaro library, clockwise from top left: “Steel City,” “Sad Smile,” and “Pillar of Strength.”]
“Boundless: Joan Brechin Sonnenberg”
March 11-May 9, 2016
Ave Maria University Canizaro Library, Second Floor Gallery
For viewing hours, visit the library’s webpage.
[Below: Sonnenberg walks through the second floor gallery space with Jennifer Nodes, right, Director of the Library and exhibit curator.]