The figures painted by Sonja Arz form a relationship with the background. Some of the backgrounds are more active, creating the bodies by giving them color and shape, leaving some figures less solid than others. The more solid figures seem to be more like anatomical studies whilst the less solid ones seem to be strangely more independent and more open.

It seems as if these figures are blown into existence like something immaterial, airborne. There can be a flowing quality to the paintings. Figures materialize out of coloured spots from the background but seem to be not fully formed or explained, and the background sometimes still shimmers through the bodies.

The aether of colour, air and liquid seem to give birth to the human form and still holds a connection to them. It is a sort of a symbiotic relationship: The backgrounds need a figure almost as if it is their only right to exist and without that point of navigation the backgrounds would seem to be empty.

Furthermore, hands and feet are mostly not visible, the heads often get lost. But since there are no faces, the eye can fully focus on the bodies themselves and is not distracted by facial features. The body is here used as a more universal expression and language. Like ancient sculptures can still function in an aesthetic way even when they have lost their more fragile extremities.

Of course there are more parallels with art history. The observer might be reminded of paintings of romantic figures, myths, symbolic imagery, the way colour was used in Impressionism or Romanticism. It is likely that the paintings were inspired by Gauguin, Emily Carr, Degas, Munch, Puvis de Chavanne, Modersohn-Becker, Blechen or Turner.

Piero Serra, 2021

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