about the exhibition
September 23–December 13, 1998about the artist
Ann Stautberg was born in 1949 in Houston, TX and now lives and works in Galveston, TX. She holds an M.A. from the University of Dallas and a B.F.A. from Texas Christian University. Stautberg has exhibited her photographs since the 1970s throughout Texas, including group shows at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Laguna Gloria Museum, Austin; Dallas Museum of Art; The Art Center, Waco; and the San Antonio Museum of Art. She has held one-person shows at the Tyler Museum of Art, Tyler; Galveston Arts Center; and the Barry Whistler Gallery, Dallas, where she is represented.
Ann Stautberg experiments with the medium of photography, specifically, with the effects of hand-tinting black and white photographs. Her skills as a photographer and painter are clearly evidenced by her precise printing and the steady hand of her brush. Stautberg’s work is unusually large-scale, almost painterly, in contrast to the more intimate hand-tinted photographs from the turn of the century. Her work solidly references this period of photography, when photographs were used as souvenirs of travel, rather than tools of expression. However, her works do not merely document a site but express it.
about the exhibition
Stautberg’s subject is the Texas landscape, and her lens turns to her immediate surroundings, the Texas Gulf Coast. The Gulf Coast is a complicated location. It is an industrial panorama, with oil rigs and shipping ports interspersed with shabby vacation homes. The beaches are anything but pristine, with cars and trucks driving on the sand. Palm trees are as tall as the electric poles at their sides. However, amidst this landscape is a dominant beauty—the Texas sky and its reflection in the Gulf Coast.
This contradiction is what Stautberg captures with her camera, avoiding romanticism and nostalgia while still presenting a sense of time and place. 5/28/97, PM, Texas Coast depicts an abandoned rowboat overturned on the beach. The background is dominated by an eerie sky, its gray clouds painted a muddy blue to heighten the emotional character of the natural surroundings. 3/20/97, PM, Texas Coast shows a fire on the beach, but not the expected happy family campfire—rather, Stautberg presents a seemingly violent, accidental fire. Stautberg’s honest and haunting images reflect the authenticity of the Texas landscape, an ever evolving visual and cultural experience.