Entangled Introductions- Residency and Solo Exhibition
American Swedish Institute
Minneapolis artist Sonja Peterson needs little verbal narrative to explicate her large-scale paper works. Whole worlds exist within the intricate details of her complex cuttings. Native plants and cultures clash with invaders. Historical events merge with present-day environmental dilemmas. The effects of globalization are intertwined with commerce and consciousness.
The imposing scale, not to mention the sheer beauty, of Peterson's work seemingly defines its delicate, lace-like construction. The shadows she creates through deft attention to the power of negative and positive space give Peterson's work substance that defies its first-glance whimsy. The Burnet Gallery at Le Méridien Chambers often shows her work, with "Becoming Animal Becoming Intense" a permanent installation. She's also had a solo show at the Bell Museum of Natural History, and exhibited in galleries through the Twin Cities and Midwest.
An artist residency at the American Swedish Institute in 2014, during which Peterson's exhibition "Entangled Introductions" was on display, further enhanced her reputation — and expanded its reach. Incorporating floral and animal imagery, the work delved into the origins of Swedish Dala painting: the story of Jonah, and the kurbits (a plant) he survived on while living in the desert. By embedding yet another layer of narrative within an already daedal design, she achieved psaligraphic alchemy.
While her pieces often depict humanity's desire and ongoing attempts to control nature, there's no questioning Peterson's supreme control of her material and the tool with which she renders her work, revelatory and complete. —Camille LeFevre