MAY 3- 28, 2017

Madame Butterfly by Sonia Richter

New Zealand artist Sonia Richter blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture creating bold large-scale three dimensional wall-hung artworks. Using clothing as her canvas Richter tells stories both personal and universal. She searches the vintage stores for dresses, coats, shirts, vintage corsets as well as items like fencing masks and antlers, anything that provides inspiration for a story. Her works are alternatively witty, theatrical, humorous or nostalgic. Twelve of these unique works are coming to New York. Richter was inspired to create an artwork after listening to Michelle Obama’s final speech as first lady. Obama’s belief in the power of education, in the value of including all cultures, religions and backgrounds, and her awareness about the powerful statements you can make with fashion struck a chord with Richter.


Richter’s tribute work is based on the dress Michelle Obama wore to the Presidential Medal of Freedom Dinner at the White House in 2012 by Michael Kors, an American designer of immigrant parents. The artwork is grounded on a foundation of books to represent education, with national flowers from many nations winding their way up the lower part of the dress. Entwined amongst the flowers are symbols and charms representative of the cultures, religions and belief systems of the world: the Star of David from Judaism, the Crescent Moon of Islam; Christianity and Hindu; of peace, love and hope; the sunflower for women’s rights, the protea for Africa, and many more. Richter gives us The Power of Hope. 


Her second tribute work is to David Bowie in a sculpture of his Union Jack Coat created by Alexander McQueen. In this work Richter pays homage to two of her favorite artists at once: “Bowie with his wild clothing choices, how he continually reinvented himself, and McQueen for his exceptional tailoring skills and creations that were stunning and sexy yet dark and protective.”


Other works in the exhibition include a 1950s tux shirt alluding to a fleeting moment at the Casino Royale; a series of free hanging coats that offer a sense of mystery; and a corset exploding with butterflies, flowers and collectables.


To download the press release find here