A native of Cologne, Germany, Thönnes was born in 1960, and studied at the Hochschule fur bildende Kunste, Kassel before moving to Ireland permanently, graduating from the National College of Art and Design in 1991. Her practice includes painting, but she is primarily a printmaker, based at Graphic Studio Dublin. She has exhibited widely in Germany and Ireland. Her work is in the collections of Ireland’s Office of Public Works, Queens University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin, National Library of Ireland, The British Library, Dublin City University, and she was recently commissioned to make to make a series of photo-etchings for the Davenport Hotel, Dublin.
Thönnes’ printmaking can be divided into two distinct strands; carborundums, that mostly depict the sea, with planes of thoughtfully balanced luminous blues, that draw the viewer in – minimal and reflective – the flat areas of colour reference the ocean, and simultaneously become the subject itself. In contrast, her photo-etchings, capture specific local landmarks – instantly recognisable to Dubliners, these draw our attention to various architectural forms around the city, and are often framed by embossed monochromatic maps, of the surrounding area. The two strands often share an affinity for water – the photo-etchings frequently focused on sites along the Liffey and Dublin’s canals.