Most regions have either embraced or been assigned their own distinct mythologies. Comprised of historical fact, folklore, and assumptions that are frequently romanticized, these elements combine to shape and color our perceptions of a particular area. The South bares its contradictions perhaps better than most regions. For many years, I have been drawn to investigate and pursue with curiosity the social landscape of the southern states with an emphasis on photographing the signs and symbols of ethnocentricity as manifested in white supremacist ideology. While many of these pictures were solidly situated within the documentary tradition, my greater interest lay in revealing the fragile, often invisible, thread of humanity that connects us all, despite the fear of difference.
In early 2010, I began to assemble triptychs from photographs made in the Delta from 2007 to the present time. With a genesis born from various writing projects, I have been drawn to make narrative sequences that embrace my interests in the dualities of life and death, desire and constraint, and the secular and the sacred. I include the look of place, the color of skin and the nagging issues of cultural separation that sometimes scream and sometimes relax and dissolve.
The pictures were always made as singular images; my decision to combine some into triptychs occurred later, back at home where I would work to visually recreate a particular memory of my experience. Some of the groupings, especially those comprised of three horizontals, remind me of the vast flatness of the Delta that one sees through the windshield of one's car while driving — less like panoramas (although they are long) — but more so a combination of things seen and contemplated, the droning sound of the inescapable heat and the fears and delights that can be encountered on lonely country roads.
Bio and contact:
Terri Garland is an artist who specializes in photographing the social fabric of the American South.
She received her BFA from the Art Institute in 1987 and her MFA in 1990. She teaches photography at San Jose City College.
As a graduate student at the Art Institute, Garland began an examination of white Supremacist culture that has spanned over two decades, photographing individuals within the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, American Nazi Party and the Christian Identity Movement.
Since 2005, she has divided her time between Louisiana and Mississippi. Her current project, Louisiana, Purchased, is a visual study of the ways in which we depend upon and demand, continuous supplies of fossil fuels and the resultant damage and ongoing destruction to coastal communities in Louisiana.
Her photographs are included in the collections of The Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona, The Art Institute of Chicago, The di Rosa Preserve in Napa, California, The Cleveland Museum of Art, Saint Elizabeth College in Morristown, New Jersey, the Bibliotech Nationale, Paris, France and Special Collections at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Among her awards are a WESTAF/NEA Fellowship, Silicon Valley Arts Council Grant and a Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship.
Terri Garland is a Santa Cruz, CA, based photographer.
To view more of her work, please visit her website: terrigarland.com
You can also contact her by e-mail: Trtletears@earthlink.net