Krista Steinke: The States Project: Texas
Krista Steinke’s projects are fit for daydreams while nodding off under the shade of a tree. Her work calls to attention the natural world, yet they consider the subjective experience had by individuals in it. Krista’s project Purgatory Road isn’t made in Texas, but it feels like the kind of experience I have had many times in the forests of our state.
Krista Steinke is a lens based artist who works in photography, film, and installation. Her work explores the boundaries of visual perception and its intersection with memory, the natural world, a sense of place, and the enigmatic spaces in-between. At the root of her practice is the medium of photography itself – its history as a tool for both scientific inquiry and artistic expression, its inherent ability to weave together narrative moments that oscillate between the objective and subjective worlds, and its unique relationship to the artist and viewer in interpreting experience.
Krista has exhibited in museums and galleries across the country, as well as internationally. She has received several awards for her work, including a Pennsylvania Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Photography, an Artist Residency at Light Work, an Image Award from CENTER, a Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and a 2007 Critical Mass Top 50 and Book Award Finalist. Her works are represented in major public and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Brauer Museum of Art, Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and Fidelity Investments. Krista has participated in several photo festivals and conferences either as an exhibitor, curator, or speaker including Houston’s Fotofest, Atlanta Celebrates Photography, Invision Photo Festival, and Society for Photographic Education. Her photographs have been featured in The Photo Review, Feature Shoot, Contact Sheet, EXIT (Spain), Monthly Photography (South Korea), HYPERtext, Le Journal de la Photographie (France), The Oxford American, The Literary Review, and an upcoming issue of Square Magazine. She has a BFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a MFA in Photography and Digital Imaging from The Maryland Institute, College of Art. Krista resides in both Houston and upstate New York with her husband and two children and teaches at Texas A&M University.
Purgatory Road, 2011-2016
Purgatory Road takes its title from an actual place where I live during the summer months—a wooded region in rural New York, divided by an infamous dirt-covered path. Local legends and folklore surround this road, where on one side, the land slopes down into a cavernous area that is ominous, damp, and dark. On the opposite side lies a lush, peaceful forest that bears an uncanny resemblance to a scene in a children’s story. These images, influenced by my own anxiety and concern for the natural world, serve as a metaphor for the concept of “purgatory” as an abstract state of “in-between”; a place where two polarities collide, become blurry, muddied or gray.
Photographed on location or composed from specimens collected on walks through the woods, my images collectively describe a sense of place, while capturing myriad cycles of growth and decay. I am especially interested in the quiet moments that seem to hover between fragility and regeneration, where life feels suspended and uncertainty reigns. To help capture this, I shoot through sheets of Plexiglass filters that need to be illuminated or activated by the sunlight. I first treat these with various painting mediums and then leave them outside to be weathered by the natural elements. They are rained on, bleached out by the sun, and often become embedded with bugs, leaves, spider webs, and dirt. A relationship between content and form emerges as nature serves as both my subject and my collaborator. Light and shadow, transparent layering, and the element of chance also play a critical role in suggesting a type of passage or an illusionary window where the physical and nonphysical have the potential to meet. In essence, I see these photos as unsolved puzzles where the process of distorting the camera’s seemingly objective gaze yields more questions than answers and perception itself can easily slip to one side of the “road” or the other.
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Letitia Huckaby: The States Project: TexasJuly 3rd, 2016
Leigh Merrill: The States Project: TexasJuly 2nd, 2016
Krista Steinke: The States Project: TexasJuly 1st, 2016
Diane Durant: The States Project: TexasJune 30th, 2016
Kasumi Chow and Desiree Espada: The States Project: TexasJune 29th, 2016