Sondra Arkin

“Non-representational work fascinates me because it is the evocation of something familiar translated into a new form that I seek. The ethereal qualities of the materials I choose focus my work on what is in the air, all around us. It strikes the viewer as organically familiar, but not something corporeal, or if corporeal, it is magnified a thousand-fold. Essentially, my work is about seeing what cannot be seen.

I am not wedded to one media; expertise from one area is incorporated in the next. From large, fluid watercolors in the 1980s, to labor-intensive encaustic in the present, my focus has always been on the interplay of color, transparency, texture, and form. I am process-driven and my work is about the materials and what I can make with them.

Every work becomes a constructed object, whether it is two- or three-dimensional in oil, collage, or encaustic, building something anew, creating a new environment. Glazing, scraping, digging, burning: working toward and from some-preconceived aesthetic. It is the paint as content, the abstraction of linear and organic forms, and the beauty of the object that compel me.” – Sondra Arkin

Sondra N. Arkin is a painter and curator whose forays into other media include printmaking, sculpture, and assemblage. Most of the recent work is in encaustic, with which she makes luminous surfaces, saturated with color and punctuated with texture. Her fields of color are deeply serene and artistic approach favors connections and boundaries. It could be said that the imagery is reductive: whether it is cleanly fluid or layered, poured or scraped. Even in the simplest works, it is distilled, and the celebration of color and surface is embodied in the structure of the grid, which is both explicit and implicit. The success of this work is that it reads as both vast landscape and microscopic environment, challenging the viewer within the context of its world.

Over the last decade Arkin has had many solo and group exhibitions, and her work has been included in many private, corporate, and public collections, including those of Crystal City, Virginia; Rehoboth Beach, Delaware; and the District of Columbia’s Art Bank Collection.

As Curator of the District of Columbia City Hall Art Collection, Arkin assembled a remarkable collection of art that includes many of the finest artists who have lived in the nation’s capitol. As the largest collection of regional art on display in Washington, DC, it constitutes a unique resource and hangs permanently in the John A. Wilson Building. She has curated many independent projects, regularly programs alternative arts spaces, and is deeply involved in the Washington, DC and Rehoboth, Delaware arts community.