Bitter, Sweet, and Tender

Sonya Clark

September 2, 2016 – October 20, 2016

Bitter, Sweet, and Tender is a new body of work by Richmond artist Sonya Clark.

The exhibition is comprised of photography, currency, sculpture and textiles that engage auto-ethnographical research on Clark’s various lineages—materially and genealogically. She examines social, practical and existential concerns ranging from how sugarcane is produced and consumed to how value is assigned to human life. She considers trade and currency on a spectrum of meanings assigned to commodities—including people—among her themes. 

See exhibition card here

Sonya Clark was born in Washington, DC to a psychiatrist from Trinidad and a nurse from Jamaica. Her appreciation for craft and the value of the handmade goods came from her maternal grandmother, a professional tailor, and many family members who taught her the value of a well-told story. Clark works the value the stories held in objects.                        

Since 2006, Clark has been the Chair of the Craft and Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts. Previously, she was Baldwin-Bascom Professor of Creative Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  She holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA from Amherst College. She is the recipient of numerous 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. Her work is in numerous museum collections and she has exhibited in over 300 museums and galleries on six continents. Her work has been favorably reviewed in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Italian Vogue, Los Angeles Times, Hyperallergic, and Huffington Post. 

Hear a podcast talk with Clark and SSG Curator Tosha Grantham.

Press coverage of the exhibition:
Radio interview with SSG's Director about the show
TV coverage on CBS19

Exhibition Sponsors

The FUNd at CACF