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By David Cohen

Eve Sonneman is a photist. Her medium is light, as in lightness of
being, radiance, speed, clarity and warmth. She is internationally
renowned as a photographer, with a career that shoots across the
divide between “art” and “trade” as surely as light does time and
space. Slightly less familiar are her efforts with the paint brush.  
Her unique vision finds three principal outlets: watercolor painting,
oil painting, and photography. If Sally Bowles could say, “I am a
camera”, Eve Sonneman can declare, “I am a tripod”.  

Her photography subdivides into black and white dipytchs (her
trademark, almost) which distill non-sequential time into quivering
stillnesses, and Polaroids. These latter further subdivide into blurry,
dizzy papparazi-like sketches (sometimes diptychs, too) made with
Polaroid’s old-fashioned (in this digital age) handheld instantly
developing device, and what one might call “machines” in the salon
sense, grand set-to pieces whose creation involves wizardry in the
Polaroid Studio, where the vision is correspondingly cosmic.  These
are her Sonnegrams.

The Sonnegram, in which dancers, swimmers and sportsmen are
superimposed upon NASA photos of various planets and their moons,
exploits a personally patented technology. In naming it so,
Sonneman claims parity with, and at the same moment pays homage
to, two paternal heros, Man Ray (he of the Rayogram) and her own
father, Eric Sonneman, discoverer of antistatic and of a means to
make golf balls fly faster. Eve Sonneman is a formal eclectic whose
every diverse creation bears the unmistakable stamp of her
sensibility. The art world is a tolerant and decent enough place but
it is rarely capable of keeping up with the generosity of spirit of the
men and women it serves, artists, preferring to cordon off their
efforts into singular, marketable “lines”. This year, however,
followers of Eve Sonneman have a welcome chance to see her
disparate efforts together, to savor her unity in diversity.

Sensitivity to each medium is Sonneman’s glory. She responds with a
vision as much as a touch specific to her chosen means. Her oils,
worked slowly over many months, exploit stillness and quietude.
Sensations of pure color are isolated.  Individual cells must be
brought together by the viewer’s eye into dynamic interaction. Her
watercolors, which she makes daily with diaristic fidelity, working
whenever the temperature allows on her New York terrace, extend
the obsession with orbs found in her oil paint pointillism and her
Polaroid planets, but exploit the transparency and chance effects of
the medium. Arrested explosions and implosions of radiant color
collapse the boundaries between time and space.  The Polaroids
dramatize, almost one might say, satirize, the enigmas discovered,
in the abstract, in her watercolors. They offer chance encounters
between two kinds of play: they are collisions of imagination and of
light.
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