Art is something that has always been a part of my life and it is quite unimaginable to me to have a world without art. It is a passion and the place where I can feel dreams coming true. Printmaking has the added adventure with the image being revealed for the first time on the press. It is quite a grand experience!
The concepts and applications of communication and information are cornerstone topics in my practice. Context, details and language are paramount to the quality of information as well as information’s interpretation within the setting that civilization exists within. In order to understand existence in that perceivable setting, I dissect the conditions of information, memory and language. What matter does a minute detail make? What difference is there between visual or spoken language? Can we explain the world we perceive? Through embracing as well as subverting a broad range of artistic practices I scrutinize these questions and more as I explore information as I know it.
My work addresses the implications of cultural appropriation in relationship to the effect of colonialism on individualized culture. I explore issue of a reverse appropriation within the context of contemporary society. I begin to express these concepts through material application and within the process itself. I assign traits of a non specific indigenous culture to portraits of individuals from the 1920s to mimic the process of taking a valuable aspect of a subservient culture and re-appropriating it within a dominate culture, without consideration of its origin or meaning. The images are created from contact prints that were made using found glass plate negatives. In order to make the prints appear to more authentic to the time period I applied the attributes of the individualized culture through the process of hand drawing them on acetate and then laying them on top of the negative to show how things potentially could have appeared if reverse appropriation had occurred much earlier in history.To address the concept within the context of contemporary society I incorporate the use of technology to create distorted inkjet prints from the original photographic images. The distorted images speak of the way aspects of the individualized culture are lost between the distance of time from actual existence,subversion,and re-appropriation.
In my work, I investigate the way individual narratives shape our perceptions and understanding of what is experienced, specifically the manner in which people’s understanding of themselves and the world is created by a collage of memories and perceptions. I attempt to create work that is in the liminal state, that transitional period of tension when something is becoming new through its participation in a process. Much like a narrative that is created through a physical journey, I view my work as a form of conversation, with a give-and-take that illuminates not only the sense of collaboration, but also a degree of loss on both sides.
In my 20s when I was thru-hiking the nearly 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, I began to see my journey as the creation of a drawn line. As I moved along the east coast, I reflected upon the manner in which everyone has pathways that are repeated throughout their lifetime. This realization was seminal in that I began to see the human act of seeking and defining new places and locations as a process of creating looping narratives, our perceptions feeding back on themselves and shaping our new experiences.
My primary mediums are drawing and printmaking. Monotype methods afford me the pleasure of not only drawing, but also the spontaneity of image-making that I enjoy. When I am printing, the process defines my steps - one thing flows into another as I manipulate the ink and make runs through the press. The laying down of ink and then printing or drawing directly on the plate is something that never gets old for me. My work can be compilations of prints that have been cut and re-assembled to become part of something new. Often they are created by drawing directly onto paper placed on an inked plate.
I compare the collage aspect of my work to the push/pull of the painter's brush across a canvas by introducing, removing and re-introducing elements as the work progresses. Printed textures and found objects serve to unify the surface.
My inspiration is rooted in images I find in old family photographs. I use what is often an unknown story and insert a story of my own.
Mike Sonnichsen spent the first seven years of his life in Puerto Rico, snorkeling, collecting ocean glass, and exploring rain forests. The qualities of tropical light and color snuck into his consciousness yet laid somewhat dormant until he began architecture school. It was there he discovered printmaking as an outlet for his process and color sensibilities.
After studying lithography at the Tamarind Institute, he pursued his MFA at the University of New Mexico. There he began experimental color photogram work in earnest (which necessitated the accumulation of substantial quantities of plastic objects) and continued to refine his systematic yet playful approach to printmaking.
He has taught at UNC Chapel Hill and is currently an assistant professor of art at the University of Idaho.
The prints seen here (utilizing moiré patterns) are meant to contain many meanings, among them, ideas reflecting subtle cosmic conditions, as well as the interrelatedness of all things vibrational.
3/23/2015 - 4/17/2015
Chair: Veronica J Ceci
The deadline for this event (1/25/2015) has passed.