Tete-a-Tete: A Conversation with Draftsmen of the Apocalypse: Thor Johnson and Joachim West

Joachim West Thor Johnson

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 7:00 p.m.
Venue: CentralTrak
Admission: Free
Season: 2014-15

Hosted by CentralTrak, this discussion between Dallas artists is a rare and intimate opportunity to hear the creative perspective of local artists. Thor Johnson and Joachim West both have incredibly thought provoking work in CentralTrak’s current exhibition “Draftsmen of the Apocalypse.” Both artists produce figurative work that illustrate pain, suffering and pleasure while incorporating a high level of detail. This is a very unique opportunity to understand the psyche of two individuals that produce dark yet inspiring work. 


Joachim West was born in Connecticut and moved to Plano, Texas as a teenager where he continued to demonstrate a committed passion for making art. He earned a BA in Art & Performance from The University of Texas at Dallas followed by an MFA in Producción Artística from La Universidad Politécnica de Valencia in Spain.

Since Joachim’s return to the United States, he has obsessively continued to pursue two bodies of work. The first, titled ‘Mother Earth is a Dirty Whore’, is a visual continuation of his master’s degree thesis which was inspired by the suicide of a close friend. This tragic event spurred him to question whether violence was something that only a portion of humanity engages in or if all humans engage in one form of violence or another.

Joachim’s alternate artistic research practice explores the intervening role of chance into formalist aesthetics by combining production commodity painting with a unique mediated monoprint/painting transfer process that he discovered while studying art as an undergraduate student. The latest incarnation of this project combines American ingenuity with Chinese mass production and European taste. By doing so, it represents the nature of our contemporary global consumerist mass production culture.

Joachim's work has been included in the Huntington Art Exhibition twice since returning from Spain as well as many other juried exhibitions, including exhibitions curated by Trenton Doyle Hancock, Benito Huerta, Aaron Parazette, and Joan Davidow.

Thor Johnson is a Dallas born artist and musician that works in the realms of sculpture, drawing, painting, photography, interactive audiovisuals, animation and a wide range of musical instruments.

His sculptures and photographs are about the physical body of the human apes, the sufferings and the pleasures associated with such a body, the methods that human apes have evolved to survive and attempt to make themselves more comfortable (like fluorescent lighting, air conditioning, and toilets), the spaces that they gather to buy and sell things they need or want, distribution of goods and services, religion, and the way all these things affect and shape the human ape body. His interactive audiovisual works deal with archetypes of the human ape's "collective unconscious" mediated through cultural programming memes and technologies. Re-mixable visual and audio components become surprising and frightening oracles. 

Johnson’s narrative animations are a form of psychic surgery or medicine (or, conversely, a psychic injury or infection, depending of the viewpoint of the patient/victim) for various cultural and emotional plagues, affecting or afflicting the human ape on both conscious and subconscious levels, his work is a mental inoculation. Finally, he also makes music with the Didgeridoo, Moog synthesizers, MetaSynth, PureData, Reason, Ableton Live, Balinese flutes and gongs, the Arduino microcontroller, and hand percussion, among other instruments. Influenced by his study of the way human ape consciousness is affected by certain tones and rhythms, the aim of my music is to overwhelm and manipulate the consciousness of the listener.



CentralTrak, The University of Texas at Dallas Artists Residency, established in 2008, is dedicated to the creation, presentation, and advancement of the contemporary arts. As a live/work space for eight artists, it serves as a community center in the North Texas area for broad intellectual discourse around the arts. While the residency promotes artistic experimentation through its support of production, the companion gallery encourages critical engagement in a local urban context through exhibitions and related programs. By building on the forward-thinking academic resources of the School of Arts & Humanities at The University of Texas at Dallas, CentralTrak unites artists from an expansive range of creative disciplines to extend and challenge contemporary notions of artistic practice, creative expression, and the role technology plays in these processes.

CentralTrak is supported in part by the generosity of numerous donors and partners from the North Texas area and The University of Texas at Dallas.


Address: 800 Exposition, Dallas, TX 75226
Hours: Saturday 12:00 – 5:00 during exhibitions, tours available by appointment call (469) 232-7298.
Admission: Free


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