Born in Montreal, Verona is the daughter of a Filipino nurse, Bella Sorensen and Canadian Painter, David Sorensen. A photo of her father who passed away in recent years, watches over her in her Montreal studio. She is undeniably beautiful. Stunning actually. Her heritage gives her an air of mysterious, not quite definable beauty. I have wondered if this has been a hindrance or a blessing for her in her artistic pursuit. But I can’t imagine that Verona lets people judge her solely on her looks for very long. First impressions are fleeting and what quickly stands out is a strong commitment to her work, a strong moral compass that guides her decisions as an artist; the result of a reflective and thoughtful nature that makes her question herself and the world around.
My motto as of lately has been 'resolute action, with detachment and heart. Trying to live the wisdom of paradoxes appeals to me. I'm often not successful at it, but I do what I can.
Verona Sorensen has a profound desire to bring people together. She is the founder of Act From Your Art, a project that brings ‘art and heart’ into the workplace and other community settings. She is interested in ‘infusing the lives of others with beauty and humanity’ through quiet rooms and team building activities. 15% of the proceeds are donated to humanitarian projects and charitable initiatives such as Food for Thought for the Homeless, a project that she started, whereby care packages are given to those living on the streets of Montreal.
Every meeting I have with Verona at her studio brings us to thoughtful discussions about the art world, how it’s changing, how we must adapt to this new world while remaining true to our principles. Verona is an artist with great integrity and maturity. She has been painting for over 20 years, building a body of work that reflects the different stages in her life. I tell her that I just read a blog entry on her website that she wrote when she did a residency at Arte Studio Ginestrelle in Italy in 2015. It’s eloquent and revealing of her process, of turning 40, of struggling to find balance and inspiration. I mention a comment written by Robert Bernier in reference to the blog: A beautiful text, sensitive, true, both simple and dense. A poetic soul that expresses a quiet mark of a hopeful melancholy...She laughs… She questions if it still applies to her now. Perhaps, she says.
Verona has tried in the past few years alternative modes of showing her art but she does recognize how having a gallery has worked for her in the past. It closes the gap between the artist and the collector. The true art collector’s role is not simply to bring income to an artist, the true collector follows and supports the artist’s path. But in these strange times, where art is often deemed a luxury item, true collectors are harder to come across. Abstract painting has often been misunderstood. It is not always easy to relate to an abstract work. Most people automatically need to build a narrative and abstract art does not offer an easy one. Instead, we are left to construct our own emotional response. Like many people, I sometimes struggle with connecting to abstract paintings but with each visit to Verona’s studio, I gaze longer and longer at the now familiar works and feel a stronger connection each time.
Just Passion from the Pink, Punch Love series is one of the first works that she shows me: it’s sexy, exciting, alive with vibrant fuchsias, reds, pinks. It is a sensuous painting. I love the piece entitled Elements, a mix of oil paint, wax and sand. It is perfectly framed with massive welded steel. It’s a work that is both subtle and powerful. It leans against the wall as I walk into the studio, ready to hang. Her latest work, Urban Writing on Interstellar Walls and Galactic Forces from the Interstelllar series are vibrant, strong, exciting. They feel joyful, filled with life and mysterious forces. Urban Writing has a faint horizontal line, Galactic Forces is filled with an explosion of texture, colours, amorphous shapes and geometric forms. This latest series is a departure from her previous work. She recently studied programming for interactive art which has brought her to a new process where the visual coding interface seems to have influenced the compositions of her paintings.
I feel machines are taking over many aspects of my life. I grapple to find balance between these two realities, personally and professionally. In combining the textures, that I had developed in my paintings over the past 2 decades, with these new futuristic-like geometric configurations, a body of work, focused on the ephemeral (spirit) meeting the (technological) machine, arose. What emerges is an interstellar landscape, where concrete forms intermingle with elusive space, in an attempt to find balance.
I am impressed with Verona. She is a woman of principle that gives all aspects of her life the same commitment.