Multidisciplinary artist Natacha Sochat is an energetic, complex creator of objects that are emblematic of visual language. Natacha creates the experience with multilayered meaning, contradictory at times, simultaneously abstract and recognizable. She sees each individual visual object that is created as a poem, as part of our natural environment, allowing the work to speak for itself. She values an artist statement as being part of the work but artist statements must have a real connection to the visual experience of the work.
Natacha uses various mediums in execution of her projects: painting, sculpture, crocheting, ceramics, printmaking, photography, performance art, and video. Her work is strongly connected by the NeuroMorphic Universe that it resides in. References to being female, human, sister, wife, mother, healer, scientist, and multicultural, all live within the work. Natacha’s art practice is philosophical and conceptual, and she values the importance of the hand in this practice. Natacha knows as a scientist that the hand is the mind. Early on in Natacha’s work she became aware that the performative as part of the process results in ‘the actual experience is the work of art’. Symbolically and metaphorically, there is a DNA of Memory that exists not only in the body of the artist, but exists in the work if only spiritually.
An artist who is constantly researching and exploring cannot merely live in the narrow confines of one ‘style’. Style is just an expressive communication tool, an alphabet that artists use to convey meaning. The time has passed that style alone is the most important factor for an artist’s work. Artists should be well versed in many styles so as not to limit the alphabet of communication to the viewer. No matter what style an artist chooses to do, what medium, or what colors an artist may use, Natacha believes that the artist’s mind/hand will be evident over all the work.
Natacha has had over ten solo exhibitions of her work and has been in over 100 group exhibitions.
***Of note is that this website is an archival site of Natacha’s work, though it does not have records of all of her work.***
I was born in St. Claire’s Hospital in Manhattan, NYC. I was the first child of Carmen Lydia (Guzman) from Puerto Rico and Mario Villamia from La Habana, Cuba. My father was involved in the Cuban Revolution, so his lifestyle resulted in that I was sent to Cuba at the age of 4 months. I was raised by my paternal grandmother Balbina and my tio Miguel. My grandmother Balbina would take me to visit a curandera frequently. This spiritual healer predicted that I would also become a healer. At the age of 5 my grandmother Balbina and my uncle Miguel moved to the United States so that I could have an easier transition and be re-united with my parents.
As my father was a Cuban revolutionary while I was very young the experience greatly dominated my early life and affected my adult outlook on society and social justice. This experience made me appreciate the wonder of just being alive in our world; the beauty that nurtures and surrounds us even in horrific times. This is the cornerstone of the art objects that I create. I grew up in Manhattan and the South Bronx. I attended the Bronx High School of Science graduating with honors in 1968.
I lived in Berlin, Germany (1972 – 1975) where I worked as a photographer and teacher at Andrews and McNair army bases. During this time while in Berlin I drew and painted. I photographed myself in different scenarios for I loved the black and white photography of Diane Arbus as well as the fantastic worlds of Jerry Uelsman. I decided that I could be a healer and an artist. I was the first to go to college in my family.
I was the oldest of 5 children and because of my Hispanic culture I felt very obligated to my younger siblings and the community to be a role model. I studied biology as an undergrad at Boston University College of Liberal Arts. While an undergrad I worked in the lab of Professor Lynn Margulis who became my mentor and whose theory of symbiosis in evolution as well as her role as a mother and professional changed my life. While at BU I would visit the undergrad and graduate School of Fine Arts many times and met a few of the professors when I sat in in some of their classes informally. Their philosophies shaped my perspective in creating art.
I was accepted to Boston University School of Medicine at the end of my sophomore year in 1976 but wound up doing the entire last two years of college in one year so I could complete my bachelor’s degree in Biology (with an unofficial minor in art history). I graduated Summa cum Laude in 1977 (Outstanding Graduate of the College of Liberal Arts).
I entered BUSM in the fall of 1977, graduating in May 1981. I married Michael Sochat in May 1980. Michael was doing his internship in Los Angeles at that time, so I arranged to do my fourth-year medical school at UCLA. I have two children – Matthew, and Vanessa.
After my medical residency training, I worked full time as an emergency physician in Lawrence MA, a city with many indigent Hispanic families where I could use my personal understanding and my native fluency in Spanish to help the community as a physician.
All through this time I created work, teaching myself how to paint. Though I was predominantly self-taught in art, I spent a few years at the Paul Ingbretson Atelier where I learned how to see the light perceptually. I was accepted into an MFA studio art Program at School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston/Tufts University after completing a post-Bac year in art. I opened an art gallery for Boston area artists with a fellow MFA grad in Boston (2010, 2011, and 2012). I have taught at numerous places including School of the Museum of Fine Arts (painting), the New Hampshire Institute of Art (drawing and printmaking) and was Master Teacher in Studio Arts at the St. Paul’s School Advanced Studies Program (Concord, NH).
I subsequently worked as Medical Director Public Health in NH for emergency preparedness (being paid by a grant from homeland security) developing protocols for biologic and terrorist events. All the while I created art projects that involve social, humane, natural, and personal meaning. I create objects that are a positive public health experience as well as give voice to my philosophy and Hispanic roots as a woman (my work is emblematic of many Latinx artists who are not creating the stereotypical work that art institutions currently promote).
We moved to Raleigh in 2015.
I was awarded the Arts and Culture Award for NC in 2021 by the Diamante Arts and Cultural Center that serves all the Latinx community in NC.
I have participated in close to 100 group exhibitions in art as well as over ten Solo exhibitions for my projects. From 2019 through 2021 I was the logistics person as well as the webmaster to 5 Points Gallery in Durham NC. In 2018 I retired from medicine, but only death will retire me from creating visual art.
Links to some solo or special exhibitions:
MFA Thesis Aidekman Gallery Tufts University Boston, MA
MFA thesis video
SugiPOP! Portsmouth Museum of Art Snowboard
NeuroMorphic – Beland Gallery Essex Art Center Lawrence MA
NeuroMorphic – NKG Boston MA
Between Presence and Absence: Making Roots -The Carrack Modern Gallery Durham NC
Retablos – Waterworks Visual Arts Center Salisbury NC
Making Roots – CMAC Gallery Raleigh NC
Litmus Gallery Group exhibition interview
Eye am Witness – Paintings for Children, Waterworks Visual Arts Center Salisbury NC
Part I of Graduation speaker 2012
Part II of Graduation speaker 2012
2021 Arts and Culture Award
Face and Pattern solo exhibition 2021 Duke University
Art of the Mind Interview 2019
Herencia Group Exhibition 2019
Herencia Group Exhibition 2021 (under construction)