Simone Subal Gallery

Sonia Almeida

The Event We Call Seeing

November 3 – December 21, 2013
Opening reception November 3rd from 6-8pm

It is with great pleasure that Simone Subal announces the opening of Sonia Almeida’s The Event We Call Seeing on Sunday, November 3, 2013. This is Almeida’s second solo show at the gallery. The exhibition runs until December 21, 2013. Please join us for an opening reception on November 3 from 6 – 8 pm.

Sonia Almeida’s latest body of work continues her investigation into ways one sees in a world saturated with visual information. In both large and small scale paintings, as well as several compositions mounted to a support and installed like sculpture, Almeida creates nuanced reflections on the contingent nature of vision.

The works on view play with a dual, interrelated problem: understanding how the creation of an image—its birth, to use Almeida’s phrasing—encodes one’s intentions with a wide range of socially constructed symbols, and how a painting can only become complete through the multi-dimensional interactions of the viewer. Almeida’s recent works possess some of the temporal aspects of film. Paintings such as Brown Sun Eclipse or Blue Filter (both 2013) reveal themselves slowly, and make it impossible to see them all at once. Some information always remains concealed, only to make apparent something else, and viewers must physically engage the pieces—moving backwards or forwards, around or besides—to take in all of the aspects. To make sense of her new pieces, as with Silver Screen (2013), which is backlit with affixed LED lights, requires viewers to often hold a mental image of a particular aspect of the work, while examining the rest of the composition. This combination of one’s memory and the material reality of the painting means the composition is constantly in flux, generating new interpretations whether because of the viewer’s shifting perspective or the changing physical conditions of the space.

In an era mediated by screens, where internet searches algorithmically generate odd combinations of images, Almeida’s paintings also take on the phenomenon of sifting though a wide swath of visual information: how different kinds of depictions get prioritized, how images can not only cancel one another out but also, through unexpected associations, form entirely new kinds of representations. In the painting Red Signal (2013), for example, a whole range of colorful forms and patterns are almost completely obscured by a large grid applied delicately in white wash. Atop the grid, the device that traditionally facilitated the creation of pictorial space, is an incomplete helix that pulses from one end of the canvas to another. The density of visual information in Almeida’s work is compelling, and often creates forms that float spectrally as with the “sunspot” in Black and White Rays (2013) or the three shapes ensconced in Forward Play Pause (2013). To get at the core of Almeida’s paintings demands the viewer to sift through her pictorial layers patiently, letting seemingly innocuous details reveal their complexity. Yet at other instances, almost paradoxically, certain works presents viewers with a rush of information. These different temporal conditions of Almeida’s paintings, like shifting verb tenses, are always experienced in the present and often simultaneously, moments in time in which each painting is a world in a constant state of unfolding.

In 2014, Sonia Almeida will have a solo show at the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA.