Solo Exhibition of SOUTHERN FICTION at Tracey Morgan Gallery

William Faulkner’s Kitchen Curtains, Rowan Oak, Oxford, Mississippi, 2018

November 5 – December 23, 2021
Reception for the Artist: Friday, November 5, 6-8pm

The gallery’s press release:

Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present a selection of large-format color photographs from Tema Stauffer’s ongoing series, Southern Fiction. This is Stauffer’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Southern Fiction traces the literary landscape of the American South, investigating sites which were formative to canonical fiction writers of the region such as William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Alice Walker, and Flannery O’Connor, among others. An affinity for the works of these iconic writers has informed Stauffer’s photographic practice, and her road trips through rural Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia are pilgrimages of sorts. Her resulting images capture a fascination with the beauty, mystery, and layered complexity of the South.

Paramount to the works of many Southern writers is a strong sense of place, and Stauffer’s photographs as well are imbued with this sensibility. The stillness and quiet grandeur of her images speaks to belonging; old structures and automobiles are literally tethered to the earth, engulfed in foliage, while interior living spaces are carefully ordered and marked by permanence. There is an immovability to these photographs and the objects depicted therein, and they are charged with the weight of both the real and imagined histories they hold.

Tema Stauffer is a photographer whose work examines the social, economic, and cultural landscape of American spaces. She is currently an Associate Professor of Photography at East Tennessee State University. Her work has been exhibited at galleries and institutions internationally. In 2018, Daylight Books published a monograph of her Upstate series portraying the lingering legacy of American industrial and agricultural history in and around Hudson, New York. The book was nominated for the Unveil’d Photobook Award 2018. The production of Southern Fiction received support from ETSU’s Research Development Committee through a Small Grant Award in 2019 and a Major Grant Award in  2020. She is the recipient of a Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship award for fiscal year 2022 towards completing this project.

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