Erika Somogyi presents nine new works at Kristen Lorello

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Erika Somogyi presents nine new works at Kristen Lorello
Erika Somogyi, Eternal Spring, 2022, watercolor on paper, 16 x 20 inches, photo: Charles Benton.

NEW YORK, NY.- Kristen Lorello is presenting Brooklyn-based artist Erika Somogyi's second solo exhibition at the gallery. Comprised of nine new works, the exhibition deepens Somogyi's expertise and experimentation with the medium of watercolor within complex depictions of sublime nature, pattern, and the female figure.

Plants, flowers, insects, and the profile of the female face form repeated patterns within Somogyi's compositions. At times the artist's young daughters appear within the fantastical scenes, as swirling, growing flowers and plants mimic the children's energetic sense of discovery. Somogyi is influenced by the floral textile patterns of historic artist and designer Vera Neumann and the fantasy floral landscapes of contemporary painter Inka Essenhigh. She is also interested in the concepts of anthropomorphism (the attribution of human traits to non-human things) and panpsychism (the idea that everything has a consciousness and that consciousness is not limited to animals and humans), in particular as seen through the eyes of a child.

Within Somogyi's compositions, atmospheric and environmental elements display humanlike qualities. In her work 'Sun Beam Day Dream,' air and heat waves bend into the two-dimensional profile of the human face, while in 'Eternal Spring' a group of elongated daffodils, tulips, and irises appear to turn towards each other as though in conversation. In the words of the artist:

"Childhood imagination and play can continue throughout life as art making. In childhood, playing out scenes and solving puzzles are integral to personal growth and development. The expression of art making can take the place of this into adulthood. The meditative aspect, the decision making, problem solving, and the creation of something to view and behold mirrors the playful behavior of youth."

Somogyi achieves a dimensional quality to her surfaces by layering watercolor onto the paper to varied effects so that in the final work the different layers are left on view. Beginning with an initial under-drawing, she washes the paper with a set of particular colors in a loose pattern, then goes back to detail and articulate specific forms. The effects she deftly creates range from a mottled, tie-dyed pattern seen in 'Contemplative Cube,' to the tonal modeling of the facial features and hands of her protagonists. In 'Wild Mountain Flower,' the sinuous strands of golden hair morphing into blades of grass give the feel of repeated lines drawn with colored pencil. In the work 'Lillies and Ladders,' Somogyi achieves the effect of a single color gradually fading to the white of the paper in a gradient. The work draws a connection to Judy Chicago's Fan paintings and Great Ladies Series of the early 1970s, which had achieved a similar chromatic effect with acrylic spray.

Erika Somogyi was born in 1977 in New City, NY and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1999. Solo exhibitions include 'Luminous Bloom,' Brattleboro, VT, 2021, 'Reawakening,' Kristen Lorello, NY, 2021, and 'Violet Dawn Love Song,' Monya Rowe, NY, 2006. Group exhibitions include 'Home Edition,' Essex Flowers, New York, NY, 2019, 'Spirit Assembly,' Waiting Room, Tokyo, Japan, 2007, 'Almost Paradise,' LaMontagne Gallery, Boston, MA, 2007, 'Alix Smith /Erika Somogyi,' Annarumma Gallery, Naples, Italy, 2006, 'Drunk vs. Stoned,' Passerby, NY, 2004, among many others. Her work has been discussed in The New York Times, The Village Voice, New York Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Art on Paper, among other publications.

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