Teresa Christiansen, Emily Hartley-Skudder, Liesl Pfeffer
chashama | 461 W 126th Street
Better Homes and Gardens is a three person show of new work by visual artists Teresa Christiansen (USA), Emily Hartley-Skudder (New Zealand) and Liesl Pfeffer (Australia). Each artist has a practice which considers reality and artifice, creating representations of natural or manufactured environments through different media, and all using photography as an integral aspect of that process. These artists create work that is playful and enchanting, inviting sustained engagement through subtle indicators of uncanny tensions in the surface of their work.
Teresa Christiansen constructs table-top sets in her studio which she then photographs. Her compositions include both “real" materials and re-photographed objects and scenes, printed and placed into the arrangement. In this exhibition, Christiansen presents distinct still life compositions alongside images where the landscape is also treated as such. These manufactured scenes defy logic and create confusing visual encounters that consider photography’s role in our experience of the world.
Emily Hartley-Skudder’s practice also involves the creation of small set-ups, but is largely focused on the representation of everyday objects, with particular interest in their reproduction as models and replicas. Her process begins with the collection of found objects – mostly miniatures, toys and plastic trinkets. Similarly drawing upon the still life tradition, Hartley-Skudder assembles these objects and photographs them, before meticulously rendering the images into small, strangely “realistic” oil paintings. In her newest work for Better Homes and Gardens, the artist exhibits paintings of domestic objects on suspended surfaces, alongside corresponding physical arrangements on small shelves and plinths
Construction and representation are also central to Liesl Pfeffer’s work using photography. Pfeffer documents the world in which we live, and uses items from her photographic archive as both the physical material and the subject for handmade collages on paper. In her work in this exhibition, Pfeffer painstakingly recreates real houses using collaged photographs. Exploiting the tension between nature and man-made forms, these houses are made of cloud, sky, snow, branches, mountains and horizons. Complementary to these collaged dwellings, are finely detailed collages of organic materials including cacti, coral and succulent plants.