Teresa Christiansen

Teresa Christiansen: Indifferent Horizons

April 1- May 15th 2016

Artist Reception:  Friday April 1st 6-9pm

Artist Discussion: Wednesday May 4th 7pm

Closing Reception: Sunday May 15th 12-3pm

Gallery Hours: Saturdays 12pm-5pm and by private appointment

Melanie Flood Projects presents Indifferent Horizons, a solo exhibition of new work by Teresa Christiansen exploring the perception of space in photographic depiction. In addition, we are pleased to host a discussion on contemporary photography with the artist and Dr. Julia Dolan, the Minor White Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum.

Christiansen works with photographs she takes of elements of the natural world to point to our complex relationship to it, approaching landscape as the organization of space. The pieces in this exhibition draw their titles from Robert Smithson’s photographic essays “Incidents of Mirror-Travel in the Yucatan” (1969) and “A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey” (1967), both published in Artforum. Through his writing and the photographs that accompanied each essay, Smithson asserted his subjectivity and active experience of the places he explored. He used the camera as a way to question the conventional representations of a “closed landscape,” in which a point of view is based on intentional boundaries, defining “a self-sustaining autonomous limit within a containing framework...that excludes breaks or interruptions.” On the other hand, he wrote, the “open landscape…embodies multiple views, some of which are contradictory, whose purpose is to reveal a clash of angles and orders within a sense of simultaneity.”[i]

Indifferent Horizons responds to photographic representations of landscape, and is rooted in Smithson’s concept of the “open landscape.” Christiansen combines and mutates photographic prints to mirror the way the camera acts as a mediator of experience. Cuts, rips and folds in the printed surface disrupt the continuity and deconstruct the solidity of the landscapes depicted. By juxtaposing views of opposing places, she invents an impossible space that embraces a dichotomy of simultaneous depth and flatness. These interventions break the photographic illusion of transparency through an insistence on physical presence and tangible form.

Indifferent Horizons is the third in an ongoing artist series at Melanie Flood Projects, Thinking through Photography, an exploration of artists working with photography today. The series includes a comprehensive survey of contemporary photographic practices through programming that highlights experimental and diverse approaches to image making. Facilitated by exhibitions, artist talks, studio visits, interviews, and suggested readings which aim to expand the language surrounding photography, while also unveiling progressive work by local artists in the Pacific Northwest & beyond.

Teresa Christiansen was born and raised in New York, NY and currently lives in Portland, OR where she is an Assistant Professor at Pacific Northwest College of Art. Teresa received her MFA in photographic studies from ICP-Bard in 2008, and worked as an Assistant Photographer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for nine years. She has exhibited her work nationally, including New York, Philadelphia, Portland, and Los Angeles. Most recently she has shown work at Aperture Gallery and chashama in NYC, The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, and in the Philadelphia Photo Art Center’s Annual Exhibition. She was a 2007 winner of PDN Photo Annual, a 2013 Regional Arts & Culture Council grant recipient and a summer 2014 Wassaic Artist Resident.

[i] Smithson, Robert. “Art Through the Camera’s Eye (c. 1971).” Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings. Ed. Jack Flam. Los Angeles, California: University of California Press, 1996. p. 374