Sonia Melnikova-Raich was born and received her education in
Moscow, where she earned a Master's degree in architecture at the
Moscow Architectural Institute,
and has been living in San Francisco since 1987.
She exhibits locally and nationally and has been a winner and
finalist in many art and photography juried exhibits.
I was trained and worked as an artist and architect.
Later in life I turned to photography, but schooling in painting
and architecture remains present in my work.
Rather than treating a photograph as an illusionary window into a
three-dimensional world, I approach it as a canvas with its own
Strongly influenced by the art and architecture of Russian
Constructivists of the 1920s, I am interested in exploring the
abstract in the material world, experimenting with depth of field,
obstructed views and flattened perspectives, and in bringing the
viewer's attention to the physical surface and inner geometry of
the photograph, its pictorial aspects and compositional structure.
As to my objects, I look for poetry and mystique in common things.
In that respect I feel strong affinity with the Japanese philosophy
and aesthetic of wabi-sabi, with its focus on the transient
nature of things, preference for muted colors, and reverence for
the subtle beauty in old and simple things.
I believe that photography is the best medium to express these ideas
as each photograph is inherently an image of disappearance,
a melancholic connection to the past forever stamped by time.
Most of my photographs are a serendipitous discovery rather than
being staged or arranged. I have no desire to just record something
and lean heavily towards composition and mood of the moment rather
than technical excellence.
I enjoy the challenge of creating an image of the ordinary and the
familiar, but interpreting it in a unique way.
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