Sonya Clark readdresses social implications within materials as she manipulates real hair, extensions, combs, thread, and beads across three dimensional and interactive work. Hair serves as a metaphor for identity for Clark, as she dissects how the politics of hair influences an individual’s public image. Literally and metaphorically unravelling the heritage within hair, she explores theories of humanity, individuality, heritage, and racial difference as an outward construction. By stitching these signifying elements onto her chosen artifacts, she layers an alternate, overtly political narrative that speaks of perseverance and continuity.
Clark received her Doctor of Arts from Amherst College, Master of Fine Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago, and Bachelor of Arts from Amherst College. Her work has been exhibited widely, including shows at University of Delaware Museums, Newark; Indianapolis Art Museum, IN; Second Street Gallery, Charlottesville, VA; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, TX; Anderson Gallery at VCUarts, Richmond, VA; Architecture and Design Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art at College of Charleston, SC; and many others. Clark is a recipient of the VCUarts Affiliate Residency at the American Academy in Rome (2017), a Pollock-Krasner Grant (2006), a Rockefeller Foundation Residency in Italy (2006), the Virginia Commission for the Creative Arts Fellowship (2009), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship (2010 & 2011), the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship (2011), and the United States Artist Fellowship (2011).