Straight photography felt too passive for Theresa Ganz. An artist with interests in both photography and painting, her early work portrayed artificial natural environments, like zoos and dioramas, but she wanted to do more to explore the ideas of artificial nature, romanticism, and human relationship to the natural world. So she began to manipulate her photographs into hand-cut photographic collages.
In much of her recent work, Ganz prints her photos of plants, branches, and other natural details, often paints on them, and delicately cuts away the backgrounds using a scalpel. She then arranges the cut-outs against white gallery walls or large watercolor scans. Her collages and installations have been featured in five solo shows in San Francisco and nearly 20 selected group shows throughout the United States just in the last five years.
Underlying Ganz’s work is her interest in the history of landscape painting and landscape photography and her view that it was “always this expansive view where it was about taking over the land.” Instead, she says she’s interested in “being immersed and located within the landscape, instead of viewing it.” Ganz also says that her work draws upon decorative and traditionally feminine arts that feature stylized versions of nature, attempting to bring them into contact with the sublime.
Ganz studied film at Vassar College, graduating in 2002, and completed an M.F.A. in photography from San Francisco Art Institute in 2006. Last year, she co-founded Regina Rex, a curatorial collective exhibition space in Bushwick, N.Y. Her current work involves digital projections and animations in which she cuts and assembles her source material digitally rather than by hand, enabling her to work on a bigger scale.
At Brown, Ganz will teach black and white and digital photography courses.
“Theresa brings a fresh point of view to Brown’s visual arts department with an interest not only in photography, but also literary references, film and innovative digital experimentation,” said Wendy Edwards, chair of the department. “We are excited to have her in the department and students will have the opportunity to engage in a range of dialogues with her.”