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LMU Gallery to Reopen With Retrospective Exhibit of Influential L.A. Artist

The Exhibition Honors Her Contributions to Addressing Social, Cultural, and Political Issues

Loyola Marymount University’s Laband Art Gallery will reopen with a tribute to the artistry of Sonia Romero with a retrospective spanning over two decades. The exhibition honors her significant contributions to addressing social, cultural, and political issues while leaving a lasting mark on Los Angeles’ public art landscape.

“Sonia Romero: Taken Root” showcases over 50 pieces, dating from the early 2000s to the present, highlighting the artist’s distinctive visual language that has expanded the creative horizons of printmaking, painting, and papercutting. The exhibition opens its doors at 11 a.m. on Sept. 23 and will run until Dec. 9.

Romero’s artistry embodies the identity and life experiences of a “both/and” artist. Describing herself as “half Hispanic/Mexican American” and “half German/Russian American,” she has forged her unique artistic path by weaving together her Chicano heritage and her Ashkenazi Jewish matrilineal lineage.

Having been an artist since her childhood, Sonia Romero’s multicultural upbringing has profoundly influenced her individual expression, transcending both the confines of traditional categorizations and conventional art creation.

A native of Los Angeles, Romero’s artistic lineage also falls under the “both/and” umbrella. Influenced by her grandmother Edith Wyle, the founder of Los Angeles’ Craft and Folk Art Museum, as well as her mother Nancy Romero, a visual artist, and her father, the artist Frank Romero, “Taken Root” explores how Romero, renowned for her methodical and sometimes whimsical creative processes, blurs the boundaries between painting and printmaking, resulting in diverse and intricate artworks that defy surface-level interpretation.

Her body of work includes painted and collaged canvases, monoprints, linocuts, and silkscreens, as well as hand-painted tiles, embossed ceramics, and laser-cut steel forms, showcasing a profound intertwining of materials and techniques.

While primarily a painter, Romero’s exploration of various printmaking techniques during her undergraduate years at the Rhode Island School of Design was instrumental in her artistic evolution. She attributes her mastery of the linocut and its potential for repetition, pattern, and bold graphic qualities to a yearlong apprenticeship with graphic artist Artemio Rodriguez after completing her undergraduate studies.

Within the art world, Romero has carved a distinct niche for her linocut expertise, leading to a continuously evolving signature style where prints merge with paintings, linocuts inspire papercuts, papercuts serve as models for paintings, and so forth.

The earliest pieces in the exhibition, created following her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2002 and her return to Los Angeles, draw inspiration from parables and tales found in children’s literature. After a year of study in Rome, where she had the opportunity to interact with visiting faculty like the late Paula Rego at RISD, Romero began crafting narratives centered around themes of labor, fantasy, and desire, predominantly featuring female characters.

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