by John Austin
Sonja Kalb’s bold and luminous visual work is a fully integrative one that skillfully employs various techniques and processes that recall the world of nature and its patterning. Her paintings investigate the contemporary world sensed through our understanding of the fragile and the contingent.
The subject matter in Kalb’s artistic project is complex. The artist’s intentionality in her process is clear: she wants her abstract paintings to express visual form of things inherently non-material, such as impressions or emotions and associations. It would be fair to categorize Kalb’s work as a layered project devoted to the unearthing of the process of abstraction, while strains of many shades flow through it.
Sonja Kalb’s vision permits various universes to co-exist. What is expressed through her art is a sea of associations and a dynamic web of links as well as unexpected relationships of texture, form and color. In this way the artist allows an heightened transgression to take place of the work marked by an evident inner freedom that is evident on each work.
The sign of this freedom is the sense of improvisation perceived through the artist’s focused creation of color fields, which are then layered to build visual areas of dynamic and spatial energy. These energetic surges in her work are expressed through the opposite visual codes of loosely applied paint of intense expressionism seen through her application of colors. This sensitive overlay of layers of paint seems to have been applied as a response to outside stimuli, perhaps recording the artist’s impressions of an organic form.
The result is a transformed perception on how such non-traditional art is to be perceived. While being initiated by organized, structural design principles that form the surface structure of her paintings in coherent parts, the artist’s efforts involve a revision of certain value judgements. It also allows an acceptance of paradox, an understanding of relativism, an intuitive randomness as a well as a reliance in unothodox applications.
Sonja Kalb’s extraordinary works are complex ones. They which put an emphasis on expressing feelings by processing colors, shapes, and textures in a highly personalized way. These sensations are manifested through poetically suggestive abstractions that allow us to see the world through the original responses of an artist unconstrained by preconceived norms and conventions.
Waterlilies 2019, Mixed media on canvas, 31.50 x 47.24 in