Better Homes and Gardens

An exhibition by Teresa Christiansen, Emily Hartley-Skudder, and Liesl Pfeffer

July 11-25, 2015

chashama 461 Gallery
461 West 126th Street in Harlem
New York, NY

Opening Reception:
Saturday, July 11th from 4-7pm

Closing Reception:
Saturday, July 25th from 2-5pm

Open Hours:
Wednesdays 2-7pm 
Thursdays 2-7pm
Fridays 3-8pm
Saturdays 1-6pm
Sundays 1-6pm

Also available for viewing by appointment. Contact

Better Homes and Gardens is a three person show of new work by visual artists Teresa Christiansen (USA), Emily Hartley-Skudder (New Zealand) and Liesl Pfeffer (Australia). Each artist has a practice which considers reality and artifice, creating representations of natural or manufactured environments through different media, and all using photography as an integral aspect of that process. These artists create work that is playful and enchanting, inviting sustained engagement through subtle indicators of uncanny tensions in the surface of their work.

Teresa Christiansen constructs table-top sets in her studio which she then photographs. Her compositions include both “real" materials and re-photographed objects and scenes, printed and placed into the arrangement. In this exhibition, Christiansen presents distinct still life compositions alongside images where the landscape is also treated as such. These manufactured scenes defy logic and create confusing visual encounters that consider photography’s role in our experience of the world.

Emily Hartley-Skudder’s practice also involves the creation of small set-ups, but is largely focused on the representation of everyday objects, with particular interest in their reproduction as models and replicas. Her process begins with the collection of found objects – mostly miniatures, toys and plastic trinkets. Similarly drawing upon the still life tradition, Hartley-Skudder assembles these objects and photographs them, before meticulously rendering the images into small, strangely “realistic” oil paintings. In her newest work for Better Homes and Gardens, the artist exhibits paintings of domestic objects on suspended surfaces, alongside corresponding physical arrangements on small shelves and plinths.

Construction and representation are also central to Liesl Pfeffer’s work using photography. Pfeffer documents the world in which we live, and uses items from her photographic archive as both the physical material and the subject for handmade collages on paper. In her work in this exhibition, Pfeffer painstakingly recreates real houses using collaged photographs. Exploiting the tension between nature and man-made forms, these houses are made of cloud, sky, snow, branches, mountains and horizons. Complementary to these collaged dwellings, are finely detailed collages of organic materials including cacti, coral and succulent plants. 

About the Artists:

Teresa Christiansen was born in New York and currently lives in Portland, OR where she teaches photography at Pacific Northwest College of Art. Teresa graduated with an MFA in photographic studies from ICP-Bard in 2008. She has exhibited her work widely, including New York, Philadelphia, Portland, and LA. Most recently she has shown work at The Art Gym at Marylhurst University, Aperture Gallery, the Philadelphia Photo Art Center, Newspace Center for Photography and Blue Sky Gallery’s 2013 Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers in Portland. She was a 2007 winner of PDN Photo Annul, a 2013 Regional Arts & Culture Council grant recipient and a summer 2014 Wassaic Artist Resident.

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Emily Hartley-Skudder graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honors) from Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, Christchurch. The artist has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout New Zealand including at a number of Christchurch galleries and exhibition spaces, {Suite} Gallery, Wellington, B431 Project Space in Auckland and a solo show with Christchurch Art Gallery’s Outer Spaces program. Hartley-Skudder has also participated in exhibitions in Sendai, Japan, Mandurah, Australia and in New York City, USA. The artist currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Liesl Pfeffer was born in Brisbane, Australia, currently living in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a Bachelor of Photography from the Queensland College of Art (2005). In the past 12 months she has exhibited at Couvent Sainte-Cécile (Grenoble, France), Arts Project Australia (Melbourne, Australia), Torpedo Factory Art Center (Virginia, USA) and Trestle Projects, Newhouse Center for Contemporary Art and Brooklyn Fire Proof (all New York, USA). Pfeffer was a resident at the Wassaic Project in Wassaic, New York in 2014. In 2015, she will be resident at the Banff Centre, in Banff, Canada and a mentor in the New York Foundation for the Arts’ Immigrant Artist Program.

Image: Teresa Christiansen, Floral Still (2012), archival pigment print, 20 x 25"

Tags: gallery, installation, Harlem, chashama 461, group exhibit, 461 W 126th Street
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