Anthony Sonnenberg’s luscious ceramic sculptures set a stage calling the spectator to ekstasis (to be or to stand outside one’s self.) The elaborate hand-built ceramic sculptures echo the decadent elaborations of Baroque and Rococo fioriture. Initially reminiscent of past civilizations’ aesthetic efflorescence, upon closer inspection, the viewer can vaguely identify familiar modern tchotchkes built into the structure.
A multi-media artist, Anthony Sonnenberg often works with the Greek mythology of Silenus, the tutor and companion to the wine god, Dionysus. Believed to derive wisdom from over-indulgence in alcohol, Silenus’ became a key player in the story of King Midas, the ultimate cautionary tale to those over-consumed with passion for material wealth. Casting himself in the role of Silenus, Sonnenberg deftly explores the King Midas story, as well as later interpretations by Nietzsche, for whom art enables transcending the pessimistic ‘Wisdom of Silenus’.
Beautiful memento mori, the platinum lusters and thick glazes appear to be melting, revealing the duality underneath, and a darker side of desire: asking, “if yielding to desire hastens our own demise, can the cost ever be worth the reward?”
Born in 1986 in Graham,TX, Anthony Sonnenberg earned a BA with an emphasis in Italian and Art History in 2009 and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2012. Residences include; Ox-Bow, Saugatuck, MI (2017); Lawndale Artist Studio Program in Houston,TX (2016); Artist in Resident at Sculpture Space, Utica NY (2014); the Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Helena MT (2014); Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA (2012); and the Ox-Bow School, Saugatuck, MI (2008). Notable exhibitions include; State of the Art II, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR (2020); the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX (2019); The Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA (2019); the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2018); the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Beaumont, TX (2018); Lawndale Art Center, Houston TX (2015); The Old Jail Art Center, Albany TX (2013); the Texas Biennial (2011 & 2013); Old Post Office Museum and Art Center, Graham, TX (2012); Co-lab Projects, Austin, TX (2012) and the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA (2011).
Conduit Gallery Exhibitions
- 2020 State of the Art II, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR
- 2019 Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA
- 2019 Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, TX
- 2018 Craft & Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA
- 2018 Art Museum of South East Texas, Beaumont, TX
- 2017 Institute of Contemporary Art @ MeCA, Portland, ME
- 2015 Lawndale Art Center, Houston, TX
- 2014 The Window Project, PDX Contemporary, Portland, OR
- 2014 Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT
- 2013 The Old Jail Art Center, Albany, TX
- 2013 Gallery Fukai, Vancouver, B.C.
- 2011 Texas Biennial, Austin, TX
- 2018 California State University, Long Beach, CA
- 2017 Ox-Bow, Saugatuck, MI
- 2017 Yaddo Artist Residency, Saratoga Springs, NY
- 2016 Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston, TX
- 2015-16 Lawndale Artist Studio Program, Houston, TX
- 2014 Sculpture Space, Utica, NY
- 2014 Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Helena, MT
- 2012 Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA
- 2008 Ox-Bow, Saugatuck, MI