her penumbra - CODAworx

her penumbra

Submitted by Sonja Thomsen


Location: Sheboygan, WI, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $15,000

Project Team


Sonja R Thomsen

Museum Curator

Karen Patterson

John Michael Kohler Art Center


Wonder is radical, it can disorient us and relocate us. The triangulation of the viewer, the work & the light, is a collaboration that is forever renewed as those elements intersect. In 2018 Thomsen was invited to respond to artist Mary Nohl’s extensive archive at the John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan WI. For, ‘her penumbra,’ 2018-2019 Thomsen photographed the dimensional delicate shadows of Mary Nohl’s stain glass mobiles. Sonja Thomsen thinks how to manifest mass for the women she orbits in the studio. She is dancing within their penumbra, the almost shadow created as they eclipse each other. ‘her penumbra’ was a dynamic 6 month installation of tempered glass and photographic murals with 6 different mobiles by Mary Nohl and multiple photographs that rotated during the timeline of the exhibition at John Michael Kohler Art Center in Sheboygan WI.


This is a contemporary art installation that activated the museum's permanent collection.


Thomsen met with curator Karen Patterson and Mary Nohl Fellowship Director Polly Morris over the course of the exhibition planning.

Additional Information

Mary Nohl and the Walrus Club, at the John Michael Kohler Art Center, in collaboration with Polly Morris. The exhibition invited eight former Nohl Fellowship recipients to respond to the life and work of Mary Nohl. The curators wished to highlight her civic engagement, debunking the common myth that she was a “witch lady”. Sonja Thomsen's her penumbra 2018 was a radiant installation of photographic murals, vinyl, plate glass, and a rotation of six of Mary Nohl's mobiles from JMKAC collection, rotation of three inkjet prints and three instant photographs. This part of the exhibition shifted every three weeks for the duration of the 6 month exhibition.