Joan Sonnenfeld


January's Passing

from Wherefore Art

Joan Sonnenfeld participated in Wherefore Art in Spring 2019 at Village West.

My interest in art began with painting. Under the guidance of my aunt, Ann Santelli, who was an abstract expressionist painter in the late 60's and 70's, I began studying in New York at the Westbeth Center, the Art Students League, and took classes with WPA painter Rita Helfond in the mid 1970's.

Later, while at Rutgers University, I received a BA with an emphasis in Sociology and Fine Art. Under the instruction of Leon Golub, I developed an interest in social-political ideas with an emphasis on environmental issues. This led to an investigative painting series, in search of toxic waste sites traveling throughout New Jersey. Due to the lethal nature of the subject, I felt the need to step beyond pure paint and began adding collage elements to my work. I then became fascinated with Dadaist and Surrealist concepts, which extended to an interest in found objects, other collage techniques, and working with a variety of materials.

More information on Sonnenfeld and her work can be found at


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