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b. 1948, Brazil

Sonia Gomes Biography

Made out of used fabrics and ordinary—usually discarded—materials, Sonia Gomes' colourful sculptures exude a sense of corporeality. Drawing from her lived experiences as an Afro-Brazilian person, and from the history of the African diaspora in Brazil, Gomes explores the entangled relationship between labour and commerce, and the colonial past and present.

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Sonia Gomes constructs her sculptures from second-hand materials. She began this practice as a child in the Brazilian city of Caetanópolis, which used to be a centre for textile production, where she would incorporate leftover fabric into jewellery. In the wall-hanging Lágrima (Tear) (2014), Gomes created a tear-shaped cluster of vividly patterned fabrics against a blue tablecloth belonging to a friend's family. Gomes also often references memories of her childhood—the rituals of her maternal grandmother, who was a shaman, and her paternal family's Catholic customs—and Brazilian dance in her work.

Whether suspended from the ceiling, hung on the wall, or presented on the floor, Sonia Gomes' sculptures convey a tension between lightness, fragility, and hardness. This is especially evident in the 'Raiz' series (2018), in which scraps of fabric, netting, and ropes are bound to pieces of driftwood. The series' Picaré sculpture possibly evokes a human figure with outstretched limbs, while Correnteza juxtaposes rounded fabric forms with the lines of the wood.

The corporeal presence implicit in many of Sonia Gomes' works is exemplified in Lona (2010): a woven wall sculpture that Hyperallergic's Cleo Abramian described as resembling a 'deflated lung'. Another frequent motif is the birdcage, which appears to harness the wood in Aninhado (2019). The birdcage serves as a potent symbol of freedom and the struggles to obtain it, and references the work of American poet and activist Maya Angelou. Still I rise, Sonia Gomes' major solo exhibition at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo in 2018, takes its title from Angelou's famous 1978 poem.

Sonia Gomes Solo Exhibitions include:

Sonia Gomes / Marina Perez Simão, Pace Gallery, New York (2020); Sonia Gomes, Mendes Wood DM, Brussels (2019); A Vida Renasce, Sempre, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Niterói, Rio de Janeiro (2018); A.R. Penck and Sonia Gomes, Hic Svnt Dracones, New York (2017); O Ritmo da Linha, Espaço Cultural do Fórum Lafayette, Brazil (2011).

Sonia Gomes Group Exhibitions include:

Mecarõ. Amazonia in the Petitgas Collection, Montpellier Contemporain, France (2020); Unconscious Landscape: Works from the Ursula Hauser Collection, Hauser & Wirth Somerset (2019); Experimenting with Materiality, Lévy Gorvy, Zürich (2019); O Triângulo Atlântico, 11a Bienal de Artes Visuais do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil (2018); Everyday Poetics, Seattle Art Museum (2017); Revival, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. (2017); All the World's Futures, 56th Venice Biennale (2015).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2020

Exhibition view: Sonia Gomes / Marina Perez Simão, Pace Gallery, East Hampton (3 September–4 October 2020). © Sonia Gomes. © Marina Perez Simāo. Courtesy Pace Gallery.

Sonia Gomes Featured Artworks

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Untitled, from "A vida não me assusta" series by Sonia Gomes contemporary artwork
Sonia GomesUntitled, from "A vida não me assusta" series, 2019Wire, fabric, thread, and stone
18 x 23 x 30 cm
Pace Gallery
Vôo by Sonia Gomes contemporary artwork
Sonia GomesVôo, 2014Moorings and different fabrics on wire
100 x 100 x 60 cm
Pace Gallery
Untitled, from Circulares series by Sonia Gomes contemporary artwork
Sonia GomesUntitled, from Circulares series, 2020Drawing, collage and mixed media on cotton paper
100 x 65 cm
Pace Gallery
Eu Me Levanto, from Raiz series by Sonia Gomes contemporary artwork
Sonia GomesEu Me Levanto, from Raiz series, 2018Mooring and sewing on wood
70 x 82 x 127 cm
Mendes Wood DM Contact Gallery
Untitled, from the Risco do Tempo series by Sonia Gomes contemporary artwork
Sonia GomesUntitled, from the Risco do Tempo series, 2020Mixed media on paper
55.5 x 37.5 cm
Mendes Wood DM Contact Gallery
Untitled, from Pendentes series by Sonia Gomes contemporary artwork
Sonia GomesUntitled, from Pendentes series, 2018Stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces
274 x 30 x 30 cm
Mendes Wood DM Contact Gallery
Tecidos Leves Atados em Força by Sonia Gomes contemporary artwork
Sonia GomesTecidos Leves Atados em Força, 2013Stitching, moorings, fabrics and laces
230 x 100 x 20 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
Untitled by Sonia Gomes contemporary artwork
Sonia GomesUntitled, 2005Stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces on wire
50 x 50 x 27 cm
Blum & Poe Contact Gallery

Sonia Gomes Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Sonia Gomes / Marina Perez Simão, Sonia Gomes / Marina Perez Simão at Pace Gallery, New York
Open Now
3 September–4 October 2020 Sonia Gomes / Marina Perez Simão 68 Park Place, East HamptonNew York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, EnormousBalls at Mendes Wood DM, Brussels
Closed
13 June–18 July 2020 Group Exhibition EnormousBalls Mendes Wood DM, BrusselsBrussels
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Terra Trema at Thomas Dane Gallery, Naples
Closed
22 September–30 November 2019 Group Exhibition Terra Trema Thomas Dane Gallery, NaplesNaples

Sonia Gomes Represented By

Blum & Poe contemporary art gallery in Tokyo, Japan Blum & Poe Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo
Mendes Wood DM contemporary art gallery in São Paulo, Brazil Mendes Wood DM São Paulo, Brussels, New York
Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in New York, USA Pace Gallery New York, London, Geneva, Palo Alto, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing

Sonia Gomes In Ocula Magazine

Spotlight: Sonia Gomes's Alchemical Sculpture Ocula Insight Spotlight: Sonia Gomes's Alchemical Sculpture By Rory Mitchell, London

Ocula Art Advisory's Rory Mitchell spotlights Sonia Gomes's alchemical approach to sculpture that elicits 'an ancient of sacred spirit from the past'.

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Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia Ocula Report Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia By Fawz Kabra, New York

Bridging almost a century of Brazilian art, Visions of Brazil: Reimagining Modernity from Tarsila to Sonia at Blum & Poe in New York (30 April–22 June 2019), hosted in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM, offers a rereading of Brazilian Modernism through the works of artists practising at different times, from the 20th century through to...

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Borderline: A Report from the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil Ocula Report Borderline: A Report from the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil By Stephanie Bailey, São Paulo

The 19th edition of Videobrasil shifted all its programming towards the theme 'Southern Panoramas.' In other words, the Global South and its social fabric—-its diasporas, hybrid identities, and migration flows.

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Sonia Gomes In Related Press

In Sonia Gomes’s Hands, Textiles Evoke Resilience Related Press In Sonia Gomes’s Hands, Textiles Evoke Resilience 2 September 2020, Hyperallergic

With her New York debut on the horizon, the Afro-Brazilian artist, known for her seductive, textile-based sculptures, is finally, and rightfully, receiving international recognition.

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Sonia Gomes’s Sewn and Twisted Traces of History Related Press Sonia Gomes’s Sewn and Twisted Traces of History 5 March 2020, Hyperallergic

BADEN-BADEN, Germany — Using recycled textiles, driftwood, and furniture, Brazilian artist Sonia Gomes creates oversized biomorphic sculptures that are palpably corporeal. In her Museum Frieder Burda exhibition I Rise – I’m a Black Ocean, Leaping and Wide, “Lona”(2010) takes the form of a dream catcher made from scraps of lace with a floral...

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Turning women’s work into art Related Press Turning women’s work into art 21 February 2017, Apollo Magazine

For almost four years the critic Karen Wright wrote a weekly column for Radar, the Independent newspaper's magazine, entitled In The Studio, which was based on nearly 200 visits to artists' studios. As she puts it in her catalogue essay for Entangled, currently at Turner Contemporary, 'Looking at what is lying around or pinned to the wall is...

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A show of over 100 women artists offers redress but no resolution Related Press A show of over 100 women artists offers redress but no resolution 24 January 2016, Hyperallergic

The exhibition of over 100 women artists currently on view at the Rubell Family Collection is difficult to review because the works do not all fit into the space and the decision was made to rotate them over the course of the show. The plan is to gradually replace some works with others, but because there doesn’t appear to be any overriding...

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