Sonia Melnikova-Raich was born in Moscow,
where she earned a Master's degree in architecture
at the prestigious Moscow Architectural Institute.
She has been living in San Francisco since 1987,
and since 2005 has been exhibiting her photography locally,
nationally, and internationally.
She had several solo shows, had her works featured in
professional photography journals, and was listed in
100 Hot Photographers by YourDailyPhotograph.com,
the project by Duncan Miller Gallery, an internationally
recognized gallery specializing in 20th and 21st Century
Sonia's approach to photography is shaped by
her background in painting and architecture.
Influenced by the vision of Russian Constructivists
of the 1920s and the photography of the Bauhaus movement,
she is interested in exploring the abstract in the material world,
drawing the viewer's attention to the inner geometry
of the photograph and its compositional structure.
Her Light+Shadows series, which revolves around the mystery
of perspective and geometry created by light and darkness
in the architectural image, was inspired by the words of
the famous American architect Louis Kahn:
“The sun never knew how great it was
until it hit the side of a building.”
Distinct from her high-contrast architectural photography,
in some of her other works Sonia explores the poetry and mystique
of low-light environments, capturing fleeting moments,
barely visible, ambiguous or disappearing things.
She feels a strong affinity with the Japanese philosophy and
aesthetic of wabi sabi, with its reverence for the subtle beauty
in old things, and focus on transience and impermanence.
She believes that photography is the best medium to express
these concepts, as each photograph is inherently an image of
disappearance, a reflective connection to the past
forever stamped by time.
Contact: 415.861.3667 or soniamelnikova at gmail.com
What others say:
“Much of Melnikova-Raich's work consists of a scene
blanketed by another layer that partially obscures the background,
creating a veiled effect....
Her colors are muted and with an added layer over the scenes,
her goal is to turn a three-dimensional scene into a
two-dimensional image.” — [Framework]: Sonia Melnikova-Raich on Paintings, by Judy
Walgren, Director of Photography, San Francisco Chronicle
“Circular Motion No. 5”, by Sonia Melnikova-Raich,
was selected as Gallery Choice. “The dizzying ordinal
elapses from a sequence of images which gradually develop in
complexity.” — Sharon Drinkard, Curator, for
Contemporary Art Gallery Online
“Sonia's works are very unique and the techniques she
employs are exquisite. The images are heavy with nostalgia and
empathy, the silent shadows or spirits of past people and things.
She has a unique way of integrating wonderful foreground textures
with solid backgrounds or showing mystical, veiled subjects
shrouded with transparent, flowing materials.” —
Barbara DeGroot, artist
“Sonia's art seems to float on some poetic altitude of
dissolution and phantom images of the past. The images are quite
powerful and inventive, both in the overall color field and
liquidity, and are quite remarkable in terms of their
technique.” — Valery and Rimma Gerlovin,
conceptual photography artists
“Melnikova-Raich appreciates the city's foggy summers.
Her special brand of photography does not call for sunshine and
Her eye is trained in capturing barely visible or disappearing
things — subtle reminders of time passing by, the remnants
of our everyday, gradually descending into oblivion.” —
Emma Krasov, art critic, blogger
“You have clearly established your own niche in art ...
with your own interpretation of reality.
You overlaid a Japanese Buddhist concept onto a Jewish
sentiment, and they work very well together.
The Jewish prayer sounds like a Japanese haiku, and the Japanese
concept of wabi sabi sounds like it was invented by Jews
almost. I think you are onto some profound confluence of mythologies
there.” — Anonymous visitor at “The Elusive Poetry
of Wabi Sabi”, San Francisco Zen Center