As an installation artist, Sonja Thomsen (b. 1978) centers matriarchal thought and choreographs space for wonder. Sonja builds images, objects and architectures that refract, reflect and record light, conjuring a reimagining of personal and cultural histories. Layering the complexity of knowledge embodied in grief and motherhood, within her interest in scientific epistemologies and feminist histories, she uses light as a location device.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Studio Art from Kenyon College and a 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 Museum, Center 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 The Open Fund, Ruth Arts Mary Nohl Alumni Award, Milwaukee Arts Board New Work Commission, Mary L. Nohl Fellowship for Individual Artists,  Digital Artist in Residence at Columbia College Chicago and a Hermitage Artist Fellowship.

Sonja Thomsen is Professor, Adj. in the Photography Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Full CV