“I am interested in the way birds’ patterns mimic their environments, creating the beautiful and extreme designs of their plumage… Throughout my long painting career, I have worked on many series that are usually multiple years-long and evolve to and from the real and the ideal.”
- Barbara Sosson
Throughout her career spanning over 50 years, Barbara Sosson has developed stature in the Philadelphia arts community as a painter, designer, and gregarious personality. In Sensuous Shapes & Mimicry, Sosson struts her stuff with a grouping of new oil paintings that combine two wings of her practice: abstraction and representation.
Sosson began this exhibition with two fully abstract, shape-based paintings, Chills and Knotted, that use formal devices to suggest the effects of specific physiological experiences. Moving deeper into the series, namable components begin to appear. Parts of the human form and the trunk of a tree are nested within flat planes of expressive color and texture. The bulk of the series further incorporates representation by presenting colorful, exotic birds within dynamic shapes, patterns and colors that complement their beautiful plumes.
These most recent works capture Sosson’s interest in the ways birds blend in with their environments. Not only do mockingbirds and parrots mimic the sounds of their environments, but a millennium of evolution has selected for the colors and patterns that act as camouflage for some species and mating displays for others. These combinations of representation and abstraction flock together to create the variety of feathers we enjoy on our avian friends! Sosson’s eagle eye enhances these gorgeous combinations, making this exhibition a delightful experience. You’ll be happy as a lark.
Since her graduation from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1967, Barbara Sosson has exhibited her works in the galleries and museums of Philadelphia, New York and beyond. She has won numerous awards, scholarships and commissions including a commission for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and a Cresson Memorial Scholarship for European Travel. Her paintings are in public and private collections including Bryn Mawr College, CIGNA Corporation in Houston, the State Museum in Harrisburg and the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia. She flies dangerously close to the sun as the current president of the Fellowship of PAFA. Sosson lives and works in Philadelphia.