CHICAGO — Describe a rainbow without using the word “rainbow.” It is harder than it sounds. Artist Sonja Thomsen asked viewers this question when choosing the name for her exhibition, “Glowing Wavelengths In Between.”
Opening May 14 at the DePaul Art Museum, the exhibition includes photographs, sculptures and installations that explore the ephemeral qualities of light. By manipulating light in uncommon ways, Thomsen encourages viewers to think about their overall perception of light — how they see it and how they experience it in everyday life.
Thomsen calls it “a rumination on the very physicality of seeing.”
“The exhibition plays on many different dualities: flatness and dimensionality, weightlessness and grounded-ness, photograph and sculpture, and light and pigment,” said Greg Harris, curator of the exhibition.
Utilizing a variety of materials that reflect and refract light, Thomsen’s photographic and installation work comes from extensive studio-based experimentation with optical phenomena, said Harris. The resulting pieces create an interactive experience with vibrant color photographs, metallic sculptures and immersive photographic murals.
“The way Sonja manipulates light is completely engrossing,” said Harris. “The museum has amazing natural light, and I wanted to see what she could do with the gallery space when given free reign. The results have been transformative.”
A teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a native of Milwaukee, Thomsen’s work also resides in the collections at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Reykjavík Museum of Photography and the Midwest Photographers Project at the Museum of Contemporary Photography.
The prints for “Glowing Wavelengths In Between” were made during Thomsen’s residency at Latitude Chicago, with support from Hahnemühle FineArt.
There are a number of events surrounding the exhibition that are free and open to the public. For additional information visit http://bit.ly/ST_Events.
Experimental Sound Performance by MT Coast
June 4 at 7 p.m.
Experimental sound artist MT Coast will perform a new composition made in response to Thomsen’s exhibition “Glowing Wavelengths In Between.” MT Coast uses computers to explore the limits of organic and acoustic sounds by processing field recordings, acoustic instruments and by mimicking organic sounds with software.
Artist Conversation: Sonja Thomsen and Nicholas Frank
Family-Friendly exhibition tour
June 24 at 6:30 p.m.
Thomsen and Nicholas Frank, a Milwaukee-based artist and critic, will discuss the creative process and inspiration behind the photographs and sculptures in “Glowing Wavelengths In Between.” Frank’s writing has appeared in the exhibition catalogues published by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Hyde Park Art Center. He is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and teaches at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.
July 18 at 10 a.m.
Co-organized by Cultural ReProducers, Thomsen will give a family-friendly tour of her exhibition, “Glowing Wavelengths In Between.” Cultural ReProducers is an evolving group of active cultural workers who are also parents. The group aims to make the art world a more inclusive and interesting place by supporting arts professionals who are raising children. Light refreshments will be provided for children.
More at the DePaul Art Museum
Also on display at the DePaul Art Museum beginning May 14 is the exhibition “Liminal Infrastructure.” Organized in collaboration with the Chicago Humanities Festival, artists Lauren Bon, Richard Nielsen and Tristan Duke created the photographs on display using one of the world’s largest pinhole cameras, the Liminal Camera. The exhibition will include large-scale photographs of the Chicago landscape, measuring up to 8 feet in length.
The DePaul Art Museum at 935 W. Fullerton, just east of the CTA’s Fullerton ‘L’ stop, is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. For more on the DePaul Art Museum’s upcoming exhibitions and events, call 773-325-7506 or visit http://bit.ly/DPAM15.
Wendy Zamaripa Smit