To be added to the waiting list, please scroll down and fill out the form below!
Themes and Practices in Contemporary Art
January 21-April 7
Sunday evenings, 6:00-8:00pm CST
Tuition: $950 (payment plans are available, please ask)
An all-levels class open to makers working in all disciplines, this online course will dig into intriguing methodologies employed by some of the most important contemporary artists. (Ok, they’re also some of my favorite contemporary artists.) In a schedule that alternates weekly between lecture/discussion classes and critique classes, students will learn to peel apart the layers embedded in contemporary art practice, learn from them, and apply them to their own thinking.
Studying great works of art by established artists is energizing and motivating. Dwelling in the mind of another maker and unpacking their practice is one of the best ways to inspire depth and complexity in your own work. We’ll have wonderful discussions in lecture classes, talking through the work of artists and identifying major themes, probing into the work and asking questions together. After each lecture class, students will be given assignments to make their own work in response to the class discussion. In critique classes, artists will show the work they made in response to the assignment, and we will discuss/critique the work together.
My primary goal is to expose participants to new ideas, methods, and ways of thinking that are woven into the practice of influential artists and guide invigorating discussions that inspire students.
Secondly, I hope for students to develop an aptitude for talking about art and confidence in expressing their thoughts, observations, and ideas. Well-verbalized ideas tend to come to life more readily; those who can verbalize what they’re seeing and feeling often experience less strain and obscurity in making their own work. Also, talking art with people who love art is fun—we need each other. Making work in context other artists is a gift.
January 21: Discussion: Jess Dugan and Catherine Opie, Identity
January 28: Critique
February 4: Discussion: Stephanie Syjuco, Metaphor
February 11: Critique
February 18: Ann Hamilton, Sensory Experience
February 25: Critique
March 3: Rachel Whiteread and Felix Gonzales Torres, Process and Materials
March 10: Critique
March 17: Robert Gober: Inference
March 24: Critique
March 31: Rafael Lozano Hemmer, Theaster Gates, Beauty & Seduction
April 7: Final Critique
To join the waiting list for the Winter Seminar, please fill in the form below.
The Practice of Conceptual Photography
Online Course| Sunday Evenings, April 9-June 25, 2023
This three-month course will help you to create a focused body of work that is personal, meaningful, and refined. You'll learn to instigate and translate ideas and convictions into a signature art practice. By learning to pull from your own 'DNA' to add layers of meaning to your work, you'll discover the foundation of creating your own method for making communicative, thought-provoking images. You'll learn the language of conceptual photography through thoughtful lectures, assignments, critiques, and by studying other artists who are working in the contemporary art world. We will dissect the practice of conceptual art-making, thoroughly breaking down each step, from inspiration, personalization, conception, production and presentation.
To maintain a highly personalized, interactive experience for each student, the course is limited to 12 participants. Space in the course is reserved on a first come, first serve basis. Tuition for the course is $1100. To register and reserve your seat, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In return, you'll receive a registration and payment form; simply complete each to hold your seat. Payment plans are available.
Our class will meet via Zoom on Sunday evenings at 6pm CST starting April 9. Please refer to the schedule below for exact dates. Each student will receive two one-on-one meetings, ten group classes, interactive group critiques, membership in a Facebook group to help foster ideas and receive feedback, worksheets, weekly assignments, PDF copies of lectures, class recordings for study, and personalized written critique on work produced for the class.
To be added to a mailing list for future class information, please register below.
Jennifer is a dedicated teacher and mentor, and is available for personalized instruction. She works one on one with artists, and helps to identify large themes, break down meaning, and assign language to an individual’s artistic style and process.
Through critique and evaluation, and in-depth discussion with artists, she can help to edit work to it’s strongest core, perfect technique, and begin to unify ideas for conceptualizing and producing new work.
Jennifer works with artists both in-person and through online meetings via Skype. She is available for brief portfolio reviews, and extended six month mentorships. For further information, download a PDF detailing her mentoring programs.
Lectures and Artist Talks
Jennifer truly enjoys sharing her experience and working with other artists and photographers. Her programs are insightful and personal, and she is a very open, generous instructor. When talking about her work and process, she reveals honest and sincere personal life experience, and inspires audiences to look inward to create more meaningful, complex work. Jennifer has taught groups of artists and professional photographers worldwide for over 15 years, and she is a widely respected teacher and public speaker.
Jennifer has also served as a juror for photographic organizations, and is available as a judge for photographic competitions and juried exhibitions. For further information, please write her a note.
Schools and Universities
Jennifer is available for guest lectures, artist talks, critiques, and classroom visits in-person or via Zoom. For further information, please write her a note.
Jennifer generously shares her ideas and experience with students, and is happy to respond to inquiries. Students in High School and University programs are welcome to email questions and short interviews to aid in class assignments and coursework.
View a few testimonials from past students below...
Please take this class. It will be hard. This class is all you will think about. It is all-consuming in your brain. But then--you come out of it a better artist. Deeper ideas and concepts. Jennifer is amazing. Just sign up, you'll be glad you did.
As a very traditional photographer and painter, I came into this class with the least amount of exposure to contemporary and conceptual art. I found the work of Jennifer Thoreson to be extremely engaging and thoughtful. As intimidated as I was entering the realm of conceptual photography, I wasn't sure how I would fare in the "Practice of Conceptual Photography" class. Little did I know that the key word there was "practice". With each lesson, there was so much to learn. It all felt fresh and so exciting. Concepts I never thought to experiment with was revealed to me not only by Jennifer's amazingly comprehensive lessons and examples, but by the work and experience of all the other students in the class. The group shared so much and so freely with each other. We shared ideas, techniques, sources, life experiences, and so much more. At times I found that digging deep to find concepts that were personal and meaningful was very hard and painful. I experienced a gamut of different feelings. I went from anger, frustration, and fear to validation, excitement, and enlightenment all in a span of one project.
Many times I felt so much doubt in the work I was doing that I nearly gave up. But Jennifer took the time to hold me responsible and hold my hand while gently guiding me through all of those feelings. She assured me with sharing her experience and all she had learned from each body of work she had produced. She shared with me ways to navigate the bumpy parts of the road and she intelligently cheered me on when I got over my hurdles.
So in conclusion I have to say I recommend this class to any artist that wants to shatter their comfort bubble. If you want to dig deep, or think on a different plane and spectrum, or you are seeking ways to become a successful conceptual artist this is it. This is the class for you. Jennifer is a master at giving the most beautiful and detailed and effective critiques, she is open with conversations beyond the class time, her lectures are so intelligent and comprehensive, and beyond anything she is not only an amazing artist herself, but knows how to draw your artistry out from deep within your soul.
While all I said may sound really heavy and deep for what you may think of as just an art class, but let me say, if you take this class with Jennifer Thoreson, I have no doubt you will have a change in perspective you haven't experienced before. The world will look different to you. In the best way. Just show up, participate, do the work, and let yourself be touched by the practices she teaches.
It will elevate your art.
This is more than a class, it is a soul awakening journey. Jennifer Thoreson is one of those uniquely intuitive people who can connect with anyone, on any level. Even if you have no idea who you are artistically, or what you want to say with your work, this is hands down the best class you can take. Jennifer is able to peel back your emotional layers, one by one, until she reaches your deepest core. She brings you to a comfortable, safe place where all negativity and self doubt are gone. From there, through her artistic challenges and gentle guidance, you find a new way to communicate visually. Each week you learn more about yourself, and your craft, than you ever dreamt possible.
During this course you also learn how to promote and sell your work. Since starting with Jennifer I have been invited to show in galleries and museums across the United States, and have two upcoming shows in Rome. She teaches you the correct way to market yourself, and gives you the courage to take those first steps.
One of the best things is the group size. Limiting each course to a small number of artists allows everyone to truly get to know each other on a personal and professional level. You become a creative family. The bonds I made with the women in my group I will cherish for the rest of my life. You will laugh and cry together, and learn how to turn those emotions into incredible artwork.
Jennifer Thoreson is an extremely thoughtful, imaginative, and supportive teacher. She introduced me to a wide range of new photographic artists and ideas and provided detailed and insightful critiques of my own work. She has been an extremely organized and inspiring class leader, and masterful at juggling the various perspectives of each class member with their own level of experience. Ultimately, she guided us all (with wit and humor and a deep passion for Photography as Art) towards finding our own unique voice and vision. Jennifer led our class through a deeply engaging and enriching experience that is still shaping me every day as I think about what photography can give to the world. I have taken workshops for 20 plus years and this workshop being online has been great in that I have incorporated it into my everyday life at home. This class will serve as a reference in the future as I continue my photographic journey.