Theresa Ganz: The State Project: Rhode Island
Theresa Ganz utilizes photographs as a material to plunder as a means to rupture our understanding of subject, be it landscapes or architecture or the solar heavens. Theresa manipulates, collages, bends and breaks in order to reduce specificity and amplify the elemental presence of the world that surrounds us. Wave Room points us towards the collective reckoning that humans take in natural disasters or cataclysmic events. Storm Diptych meditates on footage of storms set to a skin crawlingly slowed movement of the Dissonance Quartet by Mozart. Ganz’ fascination with, or her pessimism of, the human condition also addresses materialism, inequity and systems of power. As such her work reads like a dire warning of the trajectories that humans are on and how we are beholden to the histories that have supported our fallibility.
Theresa Ganz was born in New York City. She earned her BA from Vassar College in Film and her MFA from San Francisco Art Institute in Photography. She works in photo-based collage, installation and video. Her work has shown nationally and internationally at Smack Mellon, The RISD Museum, The Datz Museum of Art in Korea, the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco, The Bell Gallery at Brown University, San Francisco CameraWork and The John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin and at various commercial spaces in New York and San Francisco. Her work was included in the 2016 DeCordova Biennial. Her work has also been featured and reviewed in publications including ArtForum, Mousse Magazine, Outpost Journal and Magazine Gitz. She was the 2015 winner of the ArtSlant Prize. Her work is the collections of Providence College, RISD Museum and the New York Public Library. She was a founding member and director at Regina Rex in New York. She currently resides in Providence, RI where she teaches at Brown University. Her book, Shape Shifting was published by the Penumbra Foundation, Summer 2019. IG @tganz
I make landscapes and interiors in the form of collage, video and installation. While my primary medium is photography, a singular, still image is almost never the final product. Cutting and pasting, whether as collage, digital stitching or video editing is central to my process. I use the referential and literal quality of the photograph to create an altered reality.
My work blends a 19th century Romantic vision of the individual in nature with a 21st century lived experience mediated by screens. In traditional Western art, landscape tends to suggest vastness and the conquering of “man” over nature, or conversely nature’s awesome greatness and the smallness of “man.” This sensibility, the sublime, was expressed in painting through an expansive outward vision, coded as masculine, in contrast to natural forms found decoration, rendered as surfaces and coded as feminine. One was divine, while the other worldly and base. Collaging photographic features of landscape, I seek to undermine these dispositions, offering a more myopic and ambiguous vision. I never afford the viewer enough distance to gaze out, but confront them with a maze-like and internal world of warped detail and impenetrable surfaces. I make work that refers to the decorative but reaches for the sublime through sheer scale and queasy disorientation. From these cut out parts, I construct architectural spaces and decorative motifs. Romanticism and later Transcendentalism promised spiritual experience through communion with nature. In a time of catastrophic environmental degradation, this seems unattainable, yet the impulse remains. In a digital, dematerialized world, do objects still have aura? Is it still meaningful to stand in a room with a work of art? These questions motivate and haunt my work. – Teresa Ganz
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