Sarah Gjertson

Associate Professor

Art—Studio

What I do

Sarah teaches a variety of Studio Art courses in the School of Art and Art History, many of which reflect her wide range of expertise in methods of thinking and making, which she simultaneously extends to her students. As an artist without allegiance to any particular medium, her own practice begins with research methods to build a solid knowledge base and understanding of histories and contexts. This accumulated knowledge then informs material choices and processes, which have included outcomes as sculptural objects, installation, film and video, photography, works on paper, repurposed found objects, and printmaking processes. In her own work, she hopes to make visible (and in some cases tangible) the histories, voices and stories of women traversing the complex and conflicting expectations they experience living in American culture. Additionally, she encourages opportunities for students to engage with their own origins and subjectivity as a starting point to embed meaning into the works they create, and embrace the conceptual potency of medium and process.

Professional Biography

Sarah Gjertson earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1997, and is currently an Associate Professor of Studio Art in the School of Art & Art History (SAAH) at the University of Denver. Since joining DU in 2002, she has developed and administered the foundational art curriculum, is a former Director of SAAH, and has taught a variety of Studio Art courses from the beginning to advanced level. Additionally, she’s developed new interdisciplinary courses like “Unconventional Portrait” and offered upper level seminars such as “Professional Practice” and “Bad Girls, Riot Grrrls and Misbehaving Women”.

As of 2019, Sarah is spearheading a new Studio area in SAAH called “Integrated Practice”, which offers students a means to work conceptually across mediums and build connections between traditional processes. Of many goals, Integrated Practice aims to support students’ growing self-awareness of their own origins and subjectivity, identify larger themes in their work and connect them through research to other disciplines, and help prepare them for the broadening landscape available to them as creative practitioners.

Degree(s)

  • MFA, Studio Art, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1997
  • BFA, FIne Art, Studio, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1992

Professional Affiliations

  • American Association of University Professors

Performances

Gjertson, S. (2018). Human Imprint: Structures, Artifacts & Women. Tread of Pioneers Museum, Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Gjertson, S. (2018). Human Imprint: Histories of Women at Historic Colorado Mining Sites. Western Museum of Mining & Industy, Colorado Springs, CO, USA.
Gjertson, S. (2018). From the Dance Hall to the Press. Southern Graphics Council International, Las Vegas, NV.
Gjertson, S. (2017). Human Imprint: The Women and Structures of Park County. South Park National Heritage Area, Historic Park County Courthouse, Fairplay, Colorado.
Gjertson, S. (2019). Settlers. Art Gym, Denver, CO.

Presentations

Gjertson, S. (2019). Beauty: An Artist's Ponderings on Longing and American Expectations of Womenhood. Panel on "Beauty" for the APA Annual Meeting. Denver, CO: American Philosophical Association.
Gjertson, S. (2019). Human Imprint: Structures, Artifacts & Women. Research, Process and Current Site Impacts. Steamboat Springs, CO: Tread of Pioneers Museum.
Gjertson, S. (2018). Human Imprint: Exploring the History, Artifacts and Role of Women at Historic Mining Sites in Colorado. Western Museum of Mining & Industry, Colorado Springs, CO: Western Museum of Mining & Industry.
Gjertson, S. (2017). Archives as Muse. McNichols Building, Denver, CO: Arthyve and the Society of Rocky Mountain Archvists.