Symbols, 2023, Oil and Oil Stick on Canvas, 48 x 36 inches
Symbols is a departure from my usual work. First of all, I wanted to do a painting that was just about color. Then, while meditating, took inspiration from the Persian rug on which I’d placed my cushion; I imagined flying on a magic carpet as I’d been reading about the vrajayana (Diamond Vehicle) in Tibetan Buddhism.
Sandra Koponen (b. 1961) is a visual artist with a background in music (sax, composition), photography/film/videography and writing. Though she was around the NYC downtown art scene of the 1980s, living in squats and playing sax, she only began oil painting in 2012. She first exhibited in 2013, and in 2015 her painting “We Can’t Breathe” was one of the few to receive mention in The New York Times‘ cover story about Smack Mellon’s Respond show, which showcased over 700 artists’ work around the police murder of Eric Garner. She later received mention in Vice News and other publications for her Voodoo Trump statue in the Nasty Women show in Bushwick and for her Nail-a-thon (a participatory public performance in the East Village of NYC). In 2017, she had her first solo show of abstract landscapes, Transmogrified Weather, at SLA Gallery in Chelsea, NYC. Since then, she has worked on some private commissions while continuing her painting practice and contributing work to group shows. During the thick of the pandemic she did a mail art project, Pandemic Posts. More recently, she had two major shows in Hudson, NY: in 2021 her Officials of Torture: Portraits in Oils exhibit was written up by Michael Lindsay-Hogg in The Times Union, and in 2022 her solo show, Calendar Project, was featured in The Hudson Eye festival. She has also exhibited outdoor and multi-media sculpture. While some of Koponen’s artwork has been politically themed, her primary objective is to advance abstraction and color exploration in real and imagined landscapes.
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