Sonja Hinrichsen

Art Discipline: 
San Francisco, CA
United States
Dates of Residence: 
Apr 9, 2007 to Jun 1, 2007

In my artwork I focus on immediate environments, investigating landscapes and cityscapes. I map them systematically and research their cultural, societal and historical backgrounds. I have recently been quite fascinated with landscapes as they occur in the USA. 
The North American conception of "landscape" is essentially different from the European one. Having spent most of my life in Northern Europe, the vast and diverse landscapes that spread across the American continent are very valuable to me and I experience them as something special. I combine my personal perceptions of these environments with the results of the studies that I undertake concerning these areas. I am fascinated with the history of Euro-American settlers occupying these great stretches of land, their various reasons for leaving former homes behind and adventuring into the unknown West; and the impact this process had on the land itself as well as on the Native people who lived in these areas. I have, for instance, created installation pieces that address the history of migration across the treeless prairie of Nebraska and investigate the hardships early homesteaders experienced from social isolation and extreme climatic conditions on the Great Plains. In the Santa Cruz Mountains of California I explored the elements of a fairly untouched nature and related this landscape to mythologies that - sadly - are the only remainder of the Native people that once inhabited the larger San Francisco Bay Area. Most recently I have been exploring the alpine environments of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and the changes white man brought with him, particularly as a consequence of the discoveries of gold and silver. In this context the history of Native Americans has attracted my attention. I would like to come back to Nebraska and delve deeper into this body of work. During an artist residency I want to focus on two major subjects within this work series: 1. Local Native American history, culture and mythology, such as that of the Otoe Indians and other regional tribes. I intend to research for materials at archives and institutions such as the local Historical Society and local libraries. 2. The Lewis and Clark Expedition. Towards the end of my residency I would like to open my studio and invite the local public.

Permanent Collection: