Nature Revisited

Houston Center for Photography hosts a new group exhibition, celebrating the practices of six women photographers from across the world. Artists Susi Brister, Christa Blackwood, Jennifer Crane, Naima Green, and Laura Plageman all unite to display photographic works that examine the world from new perspectives. Also in the line-up is Aesthetica Art Prize artist Ellie Davies, who was shortlisted for the award in 2016 for her mesmerising series, Stars, 2014. For the group show, Davies will be showing a selection of recent works, including pieces from this project.

Collectively, the artists use traditional techniques, which reference the history of the medium. Photography can act as an agent of change, simultaneously reflecting society’s roles and expectations through the ages. In the 19th century, male photographers featured the female in the landscape as an object or an allegory of sexuality or Mother Nature – something to be gazed upon – rather than an active force. The six artists insert their own perspectives into the genre: through self-representation, whether symbolic or through self-portraits, they plant themselves in a new, yet familiar cultural landscape.

Works in the exhibition include Christa Blackwood’s (Austin, TX) Santa Elena, 2013; Jennifer Crane’s Her Fears, 2015; Naima Green’s (Brooklyn, NY) Tanya, Prospect Park, 2016, from the series Jewels from the Hinterland; Laura Plageman’s (Oakland, CA) Green Hill, Washington, 2010, from the series Response, Island; and Susi Brister’s (Dallas, TX) Flora, 2014, from the series Fantastic Habitat. Davies’s Stars is the only piece hailing from the UK.

The exhibition opens with the quote: “Women’s bodies alter spaces; women’s bodies carry narratives that force us to come to grips with how we function within a patriarchal society.” From Sybil R. Williams, Professor of Performing Arts, American University. Her Feet Planted Firmly on the Ground is sponsored by the Eleanor & Frank Freed Foundation, the Anne Levy Fund, and Madeline Yale Preston & Craig Preston.

Her Feet Planted Firmly on the Ground, until 7 May, Houston Center for Photography, 1441 W. Alabama, Houston, TX 77006.

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1. Christa Blackwood (Austin, TX) Santa Elena, 2013, from the series Naked Lady: A Dot Red, hand pulled duo monoprint encaustic photogravures, 17 x 24 inches, courtesy of the artist.
2. Ellie Davies (Wareham, United Kingdom) Stars 1, 2014, from the series Stars, inkjet print, courtesy of the artist.
3. Jennifer Crane, Her Fears, 2015, 20 cards each 3 x 7 inches, inkjet print, displayed with stereoviewer.
4. Naima Green (Brooklyn, NY) Tanya, Prospect Park, 2016, from the series Jewels from the Hinterland, Inkjet, courtesy of the artist.