John Sonsini, ‘Miguel & Christian’, 2017, Miles McEnery Gallery

About John Sonsini

John Sonsini is best known for his portraits of Latino laborers, at once highly personal depictions and references to the politics of immigration. Sonsini pays the men, whom he recruits from hiring posts, an hourly rate to pose as themselves, wearing their own clothing and taking their own postures and expressions, sometimes supplementing the scenes with props suitcases, backpacks, sports equipment, guitars, and other narrative elements. The thick paint, lively brushwork, and distorted drawing all recall Alice Neel’s portraits, which were also grounded in the relationship between painter and subject.

American, b. 1950, Rome, New York, based in Los Angeles, California