(b. 1963, New York City)
Sono Kuwayama is a Japanese American artist who lives and works in New York City. For Kuwayama, an intimate connection to her materials is essential: “nearly everything she creates is sourced by hand. She forages berries and crushes charcoal to add pigment to milk compound paints while spinning her own yarn and going so far as to identify the sheep that it came from.” (Rebecca Kim, Hypebeast, 2020). The works and installations that are born of these materials invite the viewer to explore their relationship to their physical surroundings, acknowledging the negative space between each object as much as the objects themselves. In employing her own body measurements and the dimensions of the faces of her friends and family in her works, Kuwayama creates an environment in which one can experience art as an interpersonal interaction.
The daughter of celebrated minimalist artists Tadaaki Kuwayama and Rakuko Naito, Kuwayama spent her life immersed in the NYC art scene, working as an artist’s assistant to her father, Tadaaki, and later, to Donald Sultan. After attending Yale University’s summer painting program with a letter of recommendation from Frank Stella, she went on to receive her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in 1990. At SVA she studied under prominent art world figures including John Yao, Jackie Windsor, and Judy Pfaff. Her work on films about artists include Forrest Bess: Key to the Riddle, A Night at the Poet’s Cafe, and an interview with Agnes Martin. Her recent public art initiative Bringing Back Bowery was celebrated by The Brooklyn Rail, artnet News, Reuters, and NBC. Kuwayama shows with Ki Smith Gallery and her work is featured in several prominent private and corporate collections.