Sonja Rieger received her BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and her MFA from Rutgers University. In 1979, she became a Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she has served as Chair of the Department of Art and Art History. Recipient of two Individual Artist Grants from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Rieger has also received grants for projects from the Polaroid Corporation, the Southern Arts Federation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work is in the collections of the Centro de Arte Alcobendas, Madrid, the International Polaroid Corporation, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Huntsville Museum of Art and other corporate and private collections. She has exhibited widely at regional and national venues and most recently at the Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery in Denver, Colorado during Denver's Month of Photography; the Contemporary Art Center in New Orleans, Louisiana; the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston Salem, North Carolina; the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. and the Ogden Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Photography for Sonja Rieger is about the examination of place through the study of its inhabitants, the empires they build and the monuments of daily life that they celebrate and endure. It is also very much about the poetry of image, the collage that color, movement and form build and about events and people that shift the trajectory of history. Rieger states: “When I moved from the Northeast to Birmingham, I began photographing the South, which has a look defined by its own peculiar growth and development. There is a proximity of the urban and the rural that can only occur because of the confluence of certain events. What I have photographed – lightning, shotgun houses, social clubs, children on Halloween and the view of the city from the base of the Appalachian Mountains – epitomize the growth and development. The cultural and political history of the place has left its mark on the look of the city.”
Reception: Wednesday January 30, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm