Sonya Clark

biography

“I was born in Washington, DC to a psychiatrist from Trinidad and a nurse from Jamaica. I gained an appreciation for craft and the value of the handmade primarily from my maternal grandmother who was a professional tailor. Many of my family members taught me the value of a well-told story and so it is that I value the stories held in objects.”                            

Sonya Clark has been Chair of the Craft and Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia since 2006. Formerly she was Baldwin-Bascom Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and in 2011 she was awarded their first Mid-career Distinguished Alumni Award. She also holds a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Amherst College and in 2015 was awarded and honorary doctorate. She is the recipient of several awards including an Art Prize Grand Jurors co-prize in 2014, a Pollock-Krasner Grant, a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship in Italy, a Red Gate Residency in China, a Civitella Ranieri Residency in Italy, an Australian National University Residency, an 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art, a 2011 United States Artist Fellowship, and an Art Matters Grant. Her work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Musees d’Angers in France among several other institutions. Sonya has exhibited her work in over 300 museums and galleries in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Her work has been favorably reviewed in several publications including the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Italian Vogue, Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, and Huffington Post.

“Clark sculpts shapes and winds thread into hair power, a thrilling metaphor.”

—Scott Wilson
The Visual Arts Journal