Tinsel Angels – Sophia Zarders


SomoS is proud to present “Tinsel Angels,” a solo exhibition of paintings, illustrations and animation, by current Artist-in-Residence Sophia Zarders, taking place from November 14th-17th 2018. (Opening Reception: November 13th 2018, 6-9pm)

With a tinge of humor, Tinsel Angels‘ narrative intertwines Sophia Zarders newfound daily life living in Berlin between discovery, exhilaration, anxiety and depression. She has created emotional self-portraits that reflect a deep infatuation and respect for religious imagery and pop culture. The presented works include loving references to classic cinema, countercultural comics, trashy television, DIY zine culture, and the city of Los Angeles. The narrative of her output has also been fed by her experience as a Black American in Berlin with the anticipation of returning to a tumultuous land.

Zarders’ residence in Berlin has been documented within the pages of a sketchbook turned graphic novel, steadily filled with impressions of daily life. This exploration of the day to day has also been translated into a series of large self-portraits on paper. These pieces combine surreal inner fantasies nurtured by the realities of both her Berlin soujourn and her home of Southern California, using tools such as watercolor pencils, pens, and ink to visually depict her inner monologues. These concepts have also been further developed into a short experimental animation which utilizes a digital rotoscoping technique and hand painted backgrounds.

As Zarders cinematically inhabits many different roles in her life size works, she visualizes the notion of life as a performance. Effortlessly traversing categories of time, place or biology, her likeness travels through the highs and lows of pop culture like a contemporary Orlando.

There are hints of Pierre Klossowski’s and Cindy Sherman’s work in her pieces, but also references to East German socialist murals, in which the figure was often staged to represent a certain symbolic role or type, and the straight-up, frontal style of Neue Sachlichkeit; casual poses, frozen in time.

The fleeting, throwaway nature of today’s mass culture is underlined by Zarder’s deliberate use of thin packing paper to carry the painting. The physicality of its crumpled, partly unpainted surface disrupts the illusion of the tinsel angels’ script, their fragile imaginary narratives ready to tear and disintegrate any moment.

About Sophia Zarders:

Sophia Zarders is an illustrator and graphic novelist from Long Beach, CA. She works as a freelance artist and an art instructor for artists with disabilities. Zarders has been commissioned by activist groups and organizations across the United States, including Forward Together, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, and the Long Beach chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Sophia received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach.

Opening Reception: November 13th 2018, 6-9pm
November 14-17 2018, 2-7pm, and by appointment
Entry free