Friday, 30 April 2010

A Wonderful Body of Work

A Review of: Margaret Sonnenberg's Solo show at the Red Poll Centre

Above Image: "Summer Forest III" Margaret Sonnenberg, 2010

Excited to learn that there is not one but two art shows available in town during the month of April, I ventured over to the Centre to take in the solo exhibition of local artist Margaret Sonnenberg.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working along side Margaret, and I was happy to see so many of her works in one place. The show is divided into three distinct bodies of work; spanning flora, landscape, and figurative. Although all of her works are intriguing and have rewarding sections, I could see a definite maturity in her handling of paint and understanding of composition from her 2009 work to the more current 2010 pieces.

Margaret’s older works have tentativeness in the brush marks, a lack of depth, and a simplistic use of colour (often with dull or flat colour choices). I found her flora pieces suffered as a whole from their overt relation to their photo beginnings. This collection tended to look a bit laboured and slightly overworked in some cases, but proved to be a strong exploration of local flora from Wood Buffalo.

Her figurative work showed a departure from the photo realism and short brush stokes employed in the flora collection. In her figure pieces Margaret plays with light and shadow; creating real personality through her line quality and placing visual emphasis on the plains of each face. Her characters came to life with their bold marks and colour combinations. The strength in these images was evident where they verged on abstraction.

I found that it was her landscapes; and in particular her pieces titled “Summer Forest 111” and “Summer Forest”, which showed the capability and strength of Margaret’s practice. In these works she showcases her ability to capture depth, tone, and texture. I felt as though I was in the forest looking up at the canopy. I would have loved to see this work twice as big or larger which could capture that physical reaction/relationship to place even more.

To the Artist,
Well done Margaret, I hope you will continue to build on your new body of work and I look forward to seeing your next show.



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