After twenty years of living and working in Vancouver she moved to Powell River BC.
She follows her love of painting since she was a child.After attanding a traditional school of drawing and painting she graduated from University of Novi Sad ,Academy of Fine Arts. / former Yugoslavia/
She is a multiple awarded artist.Sonja has experience working with many mediums but favours acrylics over all.Her unique style is apparent in every piece she creates; it stretches from intricate whimsical personal iconography to abstract pieces with always recognisable brushstroke.
2017 Sonja Kobrehel Studio and Gallery -opening/Powell River/
2015 Waterfront Gallery, Vancouver , Canada
2015 Britannia Art Gallery ,Vancouver , Canada
2015 Halde Gallery ,Switzerland
2013 Vancouver, Canada , Firehall arts centre
2012 Vancouver,Canada, Waterfront Gallery
2011 New York,USA, Amsterdam Whitney gallery
2010 Burnaby, Canada , Deer Lake Gallery
2010 Subotica -Szabadka , Serbia, Basch house
2010 Sechelt BC., Canada, The Doris Crowston Gallery, Between House and Home
2009 Vancouver 4th Wall gallery
2009 Vancouver, Canada,Gallery at Hycroft / The University Women’s Club of Vancouver
2008 Widen,Switzerland,Halde Galerie
2008 Vancouver ,Canada, Monny”s Envision Gallery
2008 Vancouver(Canada) Britannia Art Gallery :Color-Texture-Whimsy
2007 Nanaimo (Canada) 223 Gallery
2007 Niederrohrdorf(Switzerland) Moos Gallery
2007 Vancouver (Canada) Waterfront Gallery,Granville Island
2007 Vancouver (Canada) Seymour Gallery
2007 Winipeg, Canada, Color,Play & Whimsy 2.
2006 Winipeg , Canada , Color Play & Whimsy
2006 Kelowna (Canada) Art Ark Gallery
2006 Vancouver (Canada) Monny’s Envision Gallery
2006 Widen (Switzerland) Halde Galerie
2005 Mercer Island/Seattle(WA.USA) “ Jesters and Hearts” Mercer Island Art Gallery
2005 Richmond (Canada B.C.)"The Waiting Present" Richmond Art Gallery
2004 Widen (Switzerland) Halde Galerie-Traumwelten
2004 New Westminster (Canada) Plaskett Gallery
2003 Vancouver (Canada)Monny's Envision gallery-The time of magic
2003 Vancouver (Canada) 1529 Gallery -The Good Life
2002 Vancouver (Canada) Twizzle Studio
2001 Vancouver (Canada) Monney's Envision Gallery
1998 Szeged (Hungary) "IH" Gallery
1997 Subotica (Yugoslavia) "Nepker" Gallery
1996 Subotica (Yugoslavia)Likovni Susret Gallery
1993 Budapest (Hungary) "FMK" Gallery
1993 Pecs (Hungary)"Ifjusagi Haz" Gallery
1991 Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) Hol Gallery
2022 Diversia-UN Calendar May 2022 An international Group EXhibition,Biafarin,Canada , Toronto
2021 Song-Word Art House, Malibu CA,USA
2021 Halde Gallery , Widen , Switzerland
2020 Art Zurich ,Switzerland
2020 Spring Show , Halde Galerie,Widen,Switzerland
2020 Linked INNYC-Women Of The World.,New York , USA /postp./
2019 Art Studio Tour ,Powell River BC. Canada
2019 Kunst Schimmer 7, Ulm Germany
2018 Art Studio Tour , Powell River BC. Canada
2018 Suvretta house with Halde Galiery ,St Moritz Switzerland
2017 Winter Zauber-Halde Galerie , Swizerland
2017 Art Studio Tour, Powell River BC. Canada
2016 Circle Craft , Vancouver, Canada
2016 The Good Art Show, Waterfall Gallery, Vancouver
2014 Palm Art Award Competition ,Leipzig, Germany
2014 MEGA Fair with Halde Gallery Switzerland
2014 Shine a Light ,Vancouver , Canada
2013 Eastside Culture Crawl, Vancouver , Canada
2013 Art at the Port,Anacortes WA,USA, Juried show
2012 Winterzauber, Switzerland, Widen, Halde Galerie
2012 Eastside Culture Crawl , Vancouver , Canada
2012 Art at the Port, Anacortes WA, USA,Juried Show
2012 Art World Expo , Vancouver, Canada
2012 Serbia, Gallery of Open University, Small works , international exhibition
2012 Hungary, Nyiracsad , Mail art project
2011 Canada, Vancouver, The Cultch, The ECC Preview Exhibition:
The Spirit of Eastside
2011 Canada, Vancouver, Eastside Culture Crawl /November/
2011 Serbia, Subotica,5.Biennial of Applied Art, Likovni Susret Gallery
2011 Canada, Vancouver , Bouquet of hope , Roundhouse
2011 Canada , Vancouver , "Doodle" Hunter Bisset Gallery
2011 Canada, Burnaby, Nordic Art & photography exhibit
2010 Canada, Vancouver,Flowers for food,Charity show ,Gachet Gallery
2010 Canada , Vancouver, Eastside Culture Crawl
2010 Germany , Hamburg, " Please Hold the Line" Mail Art Project
2010 Canada , Invermere , Summer strokes
2010 Switzerland, Widen,Halde Galerie
2010 Canada , Delta , Art Spacific, Juried Art Show /May/
2010 Canada , Vancouver, Seymour Gallery , Start with Art
2009 Eastside Culture Crawl , Vancouver
2009 Home and Design Show, Vancouver
2009 Canada , Vancouver , Vancouver Art Show , Heritage Hall
2009 Canada,South Delta Artirts Guild, Oil & Water, Tsawwassen Lognghouse gallery, juried exhibit
2009 Switzerland , Moos galerie,” Potpouri “
2009 Canada , Burnaby, Nordic Art & Photography exhibit and sale
2008 Canada , Vancouver , The virtual Vancouver Art Gallery artist showcase, Autumn Brook Gallery
2008 Canada ,Vancouver, eastside Culture Crawl
2008 Canada, Vancouver,Chapel Art Show
2008 Canada ,Vancouver , An Evening of Art , Gallery Gachet
2008 Switzerland, Zuger Messe (Fall…)
2008 Canada , Vancouver, Seymour Gallery, Start with Art
2008 Canada (Burnaby) Nordic Art & Photography exhibit & sale
2007 Switzerland,Moos gallery , Advent Show
2007 Switzerland, SEETAL 2007 international Competition
2007 Switzerland (Widen) Halde Gallery-Spring show
2007 Delta (Canada) Art Spacific-Juried Show
2006 Switzerland (Widen)Advent show
2006 Canada, Hudson,Quebec,Galerie Harwood, WoW 2006
2006 Canada , Montreal , Expo Art
2006 Switzerland, Brega 06 –Bremgarter Gegwerbeschau 2006
2006 Canada (White Rock) Euphorbia Rotary Art Exhibition-Juried Show
2006 Canada (Semi Salmon project) White Rock
2005 Belgium (Biron de Bouffioulx Omnisport de Chatelineau) Les Decourtenay Galleries, Ambassadors’Artistic Competition
2005 USA(Mercer Island/Seattle) Mercer Island Art Gallery, Christmas Show
2005 Canada (Sydney) Main Street Gallery, Christmas show
2005 Switzerland(Widen) Halde Galerie-advent show
2005 Vancouver ( Canada) Circle Craft
2005 Vancouver (Canada) Revival Gallery, Art Show
2004 White Rock(Canada) Euphorbia Rotary Art Exhibition-Juried exhibition
2004 Switzerland (Widen) Halde Galerie-advent show
2004 Switzerland (Widen)Halde galerie-Spring show
2004 Vancouver (Canada) Ayden Gallery
2004 Delta(Canada) Art Spacific - Juried exhibition
2004 Vancouver (Canada) Monny's Envision gallery-Spring show
2003 Vancouver (Canada) Karma gallery
2002 Vancouver (Canada) 1529 Gallery
2002 Omaha (NE,USA) Miniature V International Juried Art Exhibition-Period Gallery
2002 Great Barrington (MA,USA) "Anything goes" exhibition,Gallery 304
2002 Anacortes (WA,USA) Art at the Port-Anacortes Arts Festival-Juried Art Show
2001 Vancouver(Canada) Monney"s Envision Gallery
2000 Raciborz (Poland) 3th International Biennial,Juried exhibition
1998 Cracov (Poland)International Print Triennial,Juried exhibition
1998 Raciborz (Poland) 2nd International Biennial,Juried exhibition
1998 Barcelona (Spain) International Miniature Print Exhibition MIG-89
1997 Budapest(Hungary) Exhibition of Hungarian and Yugoslav artists
1997 Baja (Hungary) City Museum
1997 Backa Topola (Yugoslavia)City Gallery
1996 Subotica(Yugoslavia) "Likovni Susret" Gallery
1996 Senta (Yugoslavia) City Museum
1995 Subotica (Yugoslavia) Likovni Susret Gallery
1995 Vrbas (Yugoslavia) "Vitalovi Suncokreti",Juried exhibition
1995 Sremski Karlovci (Yugoslavia)Salon of young artists,Juried exhibition
1995 Kanagawa (Japan) The 18th International independent exhibition of Prints
1995 Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) "ULUV" Gallery,Juried exhibition
1994 Miskolc (Hungary) Library-Gallery
1993 Dunaujvaros (Hungary) Art Festival
1993 Backa Topola (Yugoslavia) "City Gallery"
1992 Budapest (Hungary) Korcsarnok,Juried exhibition
1992 Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) N.S. Cultural center
1992 Novi Sad (Yugoslavia) Theatre Gallery
1992 Titel (Yugoslavia) City Gallery
1992 Kikinda (Yugoslavia)"Salon mladih",Juried exhibition
1989 Subotica (Yugoslavia) Annual spring exhibition "KSU" Gallery
1989 Subotica(Yugoslavia)"KSU" Gallery
2021 Artrepreneur -honorable mention for the Open Call “Turquoise”
2014 American Art Award-Abstract /Amerart/
2009 Oil & Water ,Tsawwassen , Canada, Award for artists achievement
2007 Vancity ,award Art specific.Dalta, BC. Canada
2005 Best Of 123 SOHO 2005 Art Show , New York,USA
2004 Honourable Mention ,Artspacific, Delta (Canada)-Juried Exhibition
2002 Best of the Show-Anacortes(WA,USA)Art at the Port Arts Festival
1996 Municipal Award ,Hungarian National Restaurant interior design,Subotica(Yu)
1995 Award for painting at the "Vitalovi Suncokreti" exhibition,Vrbas(Yugoslavia)
1992 Annual Award of "Milivoj Nikolajevic"fund,Drawing Award ALU Novi Sad
Art workshop/art colony':
2005/2006 Gallery in the Garden , Delta B.C. Canada
2004 Westham Island \Delta (Canada) Gallery in the Garden
1996 Backa Topola (Yugoslavia)Art colony
1995 Kecskemet (Hungary) Enamel workshop
1994,1995,1996,1999,2000 Tallya(Hungary) East European Art colony
1994 Miskolc(Hungary) International Printmaking workshop
1992 Zobnatica(Yugoslavia) Art colony
My work in visual arts reflects the constant changes, experience in my personal life.
I am guided by my feelings, thoughts, dreams and visions.
The sources of my inspiration are many :an appreciation ;I love to look for traces of the people who came before and clues about what they did there and why.
Journeys are an integral part of the inspirations. I am always intrigued by the human cultural elements and visual stimulation that I encounter. I find that every place and culture reveals its beauty to me in the everyday life.
I like to use symbols in my art work and creating my personal iconography. The symbols are the clues to many aspects of my life,but my paintings usually start with a color idea,than evolve into composition in which color is the primary subject.
I work in collage , various media on paper and canvas ,mixing everything possible together and bring it to others in a visual format. Much attention is given to the surface texture adding different materials,carving,scratching,gluing...creating visual dialog.
I complete my work using drawing techniques and whatever else it takes to communicate my intended vision.
by Rod Drown
Leaving political and economic turmoil in eastern Europe for calmer waters in Vancouver has brought forth bright , colorful ,somewhat whimsical paintings for Sonja Kobrehel of German-Hungarian ancestry.
Kobrehel,whose work has been exhibited in Hungary ,Yugoslavia, Poland, Spain and Japan to both public and critical praise, will be presenting her latest works at Massey Centre's Plaskett Gallery an New Westminster during May and June.
Kobrehel's work is being noticed in the United States and in Britain. Europe is no exception.
This accomplished artist was born in Subotica, northern Yugoslavia. Since her mid - 20's she has worked constantly on her art.In 1988, she attended Sumatovacka, a private school for art in Belgrade, where she took traditional drawing and painting.
Kobrehel's symbols within her paintings often reflect her personal history as well as suggesting her European cultural heritage.The symbols she captures within this eidetic net are suggestive of some historical aspects of Hungarian culture.They are also equally suggestive of various ancient Egyptan symbols-including Amenta (the Underworld or Land of the Dead); Udjat(healing and protection) and Khet (another figure of the ancient Egyptian underworld), Kobrehel's attention to this connectin is very intense,even obsessive.
There are also signs in her work of a biological,if not environmental ,awareness.
"I used to live in a natural, healty home built from natural materials and that home worked smoothly-just like a Swiss clock!" she recalls.
In studying the evolution of her work,one notes Kobrehel's interior perceptions and attitudes steadily evolve.As the artist says:
"I am constantly searching (within and) about for something new."
The changing attaractions include script from the ancient Hungarian alphabet (called Rovasiras). Very often these new creations seem to float ,fly, dance,undulate-even swim-against a background expanse of subtly mixed colors and hues,many very brilliant.
There is what might be called "metaphorical geography" in Kobrehel's works.One piece ,Deep Blue Starfish1,especially illustrates this.At the bottom of the painting is an irregularly rising and falling expanse of multi-hued deep toned blue.Above this ocean rises a methaphorical sky in another , lighter ,range of blues.Perhaps it contains the whole of creation.In between these two instruments of finality are contained hints-a pair of golden wings spotted with white ,a small tower with an even amaller bird atop, a golden heart disguised as a kite , a horse-shoed tube with three tiny balls arrayed above it, an arrangement of little buttons (could they be console lights?) - of all creation, both human and natural.
In other of her current works, there are what might be stones, exotic snail shells,plunging seed cases, mid-canvas collections of symbolic calendars and the merest suggestions of zodiac pathways.All against backgrounds of warm reds .sunset orange horizons,soft purples and azure blues.
Written by: Kristin Kimmel
Lately, time has been flying by. With all good intentions, I took several pictures of Sonja Kobrehel's work at the University Women's Club, Vancouver at Hycroft way back in February or March. The pictures have sat in my picture files since and every time I look at them, I am reminded that I wanted to say a few words in support of her exhibition. The exhibition is over, so I'm too late for that.
It's never too late, though, to bring that attention of a good artist to my readership. Kobrehel's work is so colourful and light.
As I was minutely looking at her work during the exhibition, one of my friends came by and said, "I don't really understand what one sees in this kind of art," which stunned me. It really shocked me, I think, because I was feeling such joyousness from looking at it. It reinforced for me a) that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and b) my art education has been so profound and lifelong that I see things differently from other people. Sometimes the abstract is unreadable by the uninitiated.
"Why is this work important?" my friend continued. I promised to explain it one day, and perhaps that is what I am trying to do here today.
What attracts me to them is her use of colour and symbols. I went back to her web site:
That daunted me a bit. I read the accolades and explanations that she already has garnered and I realized that I couldn't speak to her work on that basis. At least, what had already been written there was more eloquently written than I could, not knowing about her Eastern European background and the iconography, the symbols with which she creates her images. So I encourage you to go there and read about it.
I'm going to shift gear here, so bear with me.
I often have discussions with Mrs. Stepford next door. She is also an artist and she has a fine analytical mind about contemporary art. She was trying to pin down why she likes my dabbling and why she appreciates what I do as an artist. I just do it, and have the hardest time coming up with a spiel about it that makes it intelligible to other.
She said something like this - that I devise my own game plan and then go about making endless variations on the elements that I have chosen to work with. That I come up with so many variations that sometimes don't seem to be cohesively connected and then become visible when a whole body of work is seen together amazes her.
So, back to Kobrehel:
On an imagery level, what I like is that she uses a set of icons, visual elements, that she plays with from painting to painting, arranging them in various compositions, changing their sizes and therefore their importance in one setting as compared to the next in which it might have a much diminished importance, but another takes on a greater power. In other words, she plays with them in unending variation.
The ability to work in series with similar icons or images is an important attribute. It shows that the artist is not randomly daubing paint to canvas but has a purpose, a message that bears working with.
The next reason that I find her work fascinating is that she is working with images that are not familiar to me and at the same time, there is some archetypal pull, some feeling that in the human experience, the symbols belong to Everyman. There are circles and egg shapes, a fool's hat, a cross and hook, half-moons, hearts, birds, teapots, ladders. Some are commonly understood, some are esoteric, and according to the web-site, Egyptian or Eastern religious symbols. They are used out of context. That is, the egg is not in a usual egg situation. Ditto for the moon, the hearts, the teapots and the ladders.
What this accomplishes is an image with mysteriousness. Why are these symbols placed one against the other? Do they have a significance? Or, do they add up in a symbiotic whole to a feeling, a sentiment of nostalgia or of well-being, gladness, wistfulness or comfort? It is the ambiguity that draws me in, trying to come to an inner sense for me, of the work that I am looking at. Ambiguity, for me is a strong attribute of paintings.
I don't want to be told everything. It's why I am most often uncomfortable with Realism. Everything is spelled out. It only takes a minute or two to "get the picture". The technique of copying nature onto a canvas may be admirable, but it's just one element in the artists arsenal of weapons. With Kobrehel's work, I don't immediately "get the picture" (and may never ultimately do so) and so it's interesting to figure out why my initial reaction was to love it. It engages me. It makes me think, not just rationally, but emotionally too.
And when the emotional and rational evaluation of the image is done, I see that, on a technical plane, Kobrehel's work is also fascinating.
She seems to compose chiefly on the "spatial relationship" method of composition, although the other methods are working too. It's one of my favourites of all the compositional methods and by far the most abstract of compositional ideas. The icons are placed about the picture plane to draw the eye around. In one, for instance, there are three objects in the colour red on a largely beige coloured canvas. The act as an implied triangle that leads one's eye around. Then there are three other objects in a different colour, also acting as a triangle, pulling one's eyes away from the first, so that the eye travels around and around within the entire image, comfortably being able to stop at this icon or that for closer inspection.
Where large rectangular blocks of colour make up the background of a painting, she understands the visual weight of each and adjusts the size of the shapes accordingly so that the shapes are in balance.
For an artist (me) who is familiar with these principles of colour weights, the manipulation of shapes to create balance or imbalance, compositional considerations, these paintings are full of richness underneath the apparent imagery. It's as if Kobrehel is more concerned with these than the actual icons.
The last thing I am going to mention is technical quality of paint handling.
Kobrehel paints with a build-up of layers with each layer contributing to the surface quality.It provides a richness of color , a depth, even if the color on initial view looks,for instance red. That red may have yellow and oranges and cream colors underneath that alter the final quality of the block of redness.It's not flat.
The colours are fresh and lively. This may seem simple, but it's not. Too often, colours are over mixed and become as a result rather muddy-looking. Kobrehel's are clean and light. It's that quality of colour mixing that keeps these images fresh and happy. Kobrehel also knows her colour mixing so well that one colour never jars against another. It's so easy for an amateur to put a lime green against a red, but it will clash and blare like a ill tuned trumpet. When Kobrehel does this, though, the colours sit together like sensitive lovers. They are individual and opposite, but they marry comfortably and easily. This is no mean feat.
The quality of the drawing is also fresh. There seems no hesitation in the markings, but that does not make them simple. The forms, the fool's hat, for instance, is lightly rounded on the edges giving it a three-dimensional quality. The shadows lurking behind these objects serve to lift them off the page in an optical illusion. The icons live. They pop off the surface and tempt you to touch the canvas just to make sure they aren't really trying to escape.
Kobrehel is an adult who has been able to recapture that childlike ability to create her own symbols and express them as a private language. I find her work fascinating to look at.
I hope this will explain to my skeptic friend and give her something to think about when next she comes in view of a work of art that is more difficult to perceive on first view.
So thank you, Sonja Kobrehel, for making my day - not just in February when I saw the real thing, but today, as I look at it all again and am delighted by what I see.
Sonja Kobrehel uses Szekely-Hungarian Rovas in her artwork as intellectual heritage from her grand-grandfather. The strength of the cultural roots.
Sonja Kobrehel - from Vajdaság (Vojvodina) to Canada
Rovás Infó opened a section to the articles dealing with the relation of Rovas culture and arts. There, not only the rich Rovás related art of the 20-th century is introduced but attention is paid to the articrafts of the contemporary artists as well. Rovas Info asked the Hungarian origin Canadian paintor, Sonja Kobrehel:
- Where did you get in touch with the Rovas culture and since when are you using it?
I can not say that I am a Rovas professional but for sure, the Rovas has been with me in a way or in another during my whole life. I was told that my grand-grandfather had been using the script itself and in our home I could always find some books about the national script. Therefore, my interest in Rovas was quite a natural fenomenon.
- In your pictures, there are sometimes Rovas characters, is there any concept behind the use of them?
I was always interested in scripts as signs, characters, lines or just visual elements. On many of my paintings you can see characters or just lines resembling to Latin or Rovas characters. However, I do not intend to send some written message through my paintings. Therefore, I usually avoide strings of characters with definite meaning, rather focus on the visual individuality of the signs.
- What is the reaction of the viewers of you paintings, especially in Canada, where they can see Rovas probably the first time in their life?
Part of the people like to browse my pictures and they can notice the Rovas characters. As I live in Canada, obviously not many of them know what they see, so due to their curiosity a new conversation starts often. I am happy and proud to explain our Rovas culture, as not many nations have such an ancient and still alive writing system.
- Do you use yourself the Rovas - for example as signature on your paintings?
Lately, I use mostly Rovas, when I sign on my pictures but it is not only a signature in its traditional meaning, rather an organic part of the painting. Here, I attach few pictures that can illustrate what do I mean but on my home page, there is more articraft incorporating the Rovas script.
-Apero Fine Art Publication May 2021