Sonja Weber: Beyond the Loom March 5th – April 18th 2020
‘The sum of all these unique, irretrievable moments might be a bit of eternity. Perhaps every moment is one of the pieces in the mosaic of eternity.’
Sonja Weber is internationally acclaimed for her woven jacquard works. Her sophisticated knowledge of the jacquard loom, allows her to achieve magnificent tonal depth, so every nuance of a shadow, or a mountainside or crest of a wave is depicted. This depth of tone creates constantly shifting layers which extend the illusion of a photographic realism. The invention of the jacquard loom in 18th Century France was revolutionary when a number of punched cards were laced together into a continuous sequence, since then technology has evolved to define and enable exciting, new methods in design and production.
The works in this exhibition are united by the concept of a moment in time. Weber captures often fleeting moments in nature with her camera. All her series, be they clouds, woodland, icebergs or mountains, stem from her own personal trips and photographs. She digitally converts her own photographs into woven structures. By fusing techniques from painting, photography, textiles and computer technology, these woven structures are then stretched across a frame like a painting. Enhanced by the weaving techniques she employs, which can range from a strong painterly aspect, to print-like abstract variations, playing with the 3D effect of the individual threads, she creates a kind of relief painting.
Weber is interested in perception, and a frame of time in nature. All these moments are drawn from her concrete world and everyday surroundings which she then reworks, reducing the colour to a more monochromatic palette, and abstracting the forms. In this exhibition the universal nature of her subject matter is imbued with a range of emotion from a feeling of grandeur and majesty or an intangible moment to a philosophical pause. Her seascape series for instance ranges from a serene horizon 1704 Water, to the crest of a wave dazzling in the sun to a dramatic swell of water.
They are always different, depending upon the intensity of the light, the sunshine, and surface movement. This is particularly striking in a work like Icebergs 1773. There is a serenity and majesty about this piece, the infinite variety of tonal depth, creates a powerful image that inspires contemplation. The boundlessness of her subject matter motivates her to keep on exploring and making.
Our sensory experience of her work is because of this changing light or our standpoint. Because her palette is reduced, more emphasis is placed on the values of light and shadow. There is considerable knowledge and skill involved in interpreting the shades of light and dark in her work which creates a certain iridescent surface.
Sonja Weber studied at the Textile School of Munchberg, The Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg and the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich. She has exhibited throughout Europe. In 2010, the German Parliament in Berlin added her work to its collection. Her work was counted as being among 22 of the most forward-thinking practitioners who have embraced innovative digital technologies in the Digital Visions for Fashion + Textiles, published by Thames and Hudson in 2012.