HTFAM 2020 Facilitators Sonja Thomsen & Eirik Johnson

For our forthcoming residency How to Flatten a Mountain, our residency in collaboration with PhotoIreland, workshops will be led by an outstanding group of artists. We are thrilled to announce that photographers Sonja Thomsen and Eirik Johnson will be joining us for a full day of presentations, workshops, and critiques.

These artists among others will facilitate day-long workshops to provoke and animate different avenues for thought. Each facilitator brings to the residency new perspectives, challenges, and opportunities for participants in their efforts to make new work.

The application deadline for this residency is this coming Sunday, March 1st.

How to Flatten a Mountain is a 12-day residency opportunity presented by PhotoIreland & Cow House Studios with the support of Inspirational Arts. This opportunity is open to emerging and mid-career visual artists whose artistic practice in whole or part makes use of digital and/or analog photographic processes. This residency culminates with an exhibition of artworks produced on residency during PhotoIreland Festival 2020 at The Library Project, Dublin.

Image above left installation view her penumbra, 2018, by Sonja Thomsen and right, Joy & Daughter (crop) from the series Mushroom Camps by Eirik Johnson.

Sonja Thomsen

Sonja Thomsen (b. 1978) is an American artist whose multifaceted practice combines photography, sculpture, interactive installation, and site-specific public art. Working in abstraction while pointedly engaged with questions of equity, Thomsen’s installation practice engages the public in wonder as a radical way to imagine a post-patriarchal future.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Studio Art from Kenyon College and an MFA in photography from the San Francisco Art Institute. She has exhibited with Bauhaus Archiv Berlin, Soccer Club Club Chicago, Higher Pictures NY, DePaul Art MuseumCenter for Photography at Woodstock, the Reykjavik Museum of Photography, New Mexico Museum of Art, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Gallery f5,6 in Munich among others. Thomsen’s work resides in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University, DePaul University Art Museum, Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection in Flaxman Library at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Reykjavik Museum of Photography.

Publications include Experiment Photography: New Bauhaus Chicago, Bauhaus Archiv, Berlin, Hirmer Publishers; Keeper of the Hearth – Picturing Roland Barthes’ Unseen Photograph, Odette England, Schilt publishing; Un’ apparizione di superfici, Luca Panaro, Italy, APM editions; “GR-09022017”, Fotogalleriet, Oslo, SKREID Publishing; Earth Now: American Photographers and the Environment, Katherine Ware, New Mexico, Museum of New Mexico Press.  Accolades include the Mary L. Nohl Fellowship for Individual Artists, Milwaukee Arts Board New Work Commission, Digital Artist in Residence at Columbia College Chicago and a Hermitage Artist Fellowship.

Sonja Thomsen is a member of the international photography collective Piece of Cake Collective. Thomsen is an Assistant Professor, Adj. in the Photography Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Eirik Johnson

Photographic artist Eirik Johnson (b. 1974) makes work examining the intersections of contemporary environmental, social, and economic issues both in America and abroad.  Employing various modes of presentation from photobooks to experiential photo and sound-based installation, Johnson’s photographic projects explore the marks and connections formed in the friction of this complicated relationship.

Johnson received his BFA and BA from the University of Washington, Seattle, WA in 1997 and his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2003.  He has exhibited his work at institutions including the Aperture Foundation, NY, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston MA, and the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY. His first monograph BORDERLANDS was published by Twin Palms Publishers in 2005 and was the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York, and Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco.  His second monograph Sawdust Mountain was published by Aperture in 2009 and culminated in exhibitions at the Henry Art Gallery, the Aperture Foundation, and Vassar College.  In 2018, Johnson published his third book PINE, with Minor Matters Books, for which he also produced a full-length vinyl album featuring original compositions by seven musicians. His most recent photobook Barrow Cabins was published in 2019 by Ice Fog Press.

Johnson’s work is in the permanent collections of institutions including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the International Center of Photography, NY, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX.  Eirik Johnson is represented by Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco and G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle.  He is a member of the photographic cooperative Piece of Cake Collective and serves as Programs Chair at the Photographic Center Northwest and faculty at the University of Washington.  Johnson lives in Seattle, Washington with his wife and two sons.


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