Ganz and Tibbs Make It Their Own
“No Man’s Land” at Chazan Gallery features photographic collage works by Theresa Ganz and Millee Tibbs. Each artist blends contemporary perspectives with conventions of 19th century American landscape photography. It is a period reference that marks a nascent moment when landscape photography went mainstream in America; a time when the use of the medium was male-driven and aligned with westward expansion and ideas about Manifest Destiny.
Balking at the sense of male entitlement on many levels, Ganz and Tibbs have appropriated the era’s sense of wonder about the sublime framed in iconic natural vistas, and they have reworked the romantic content so that their contemporary statements supersede previous meaning to create an intimate tactile experience in the present.
Both artists present photographic collages created by digital media. Tibbs begins her series in “No Man’s Land” by appropriating direct lift-offs of iconic Ansel Adams photographs, which she combines with geometrics that are sewn on. In another set of composite works, she adds photographic openwork, creating a paper lattice layer atop landscapes. Tibbs works with the idea of taking ownership of familiar images to change their illusionary space into her own experience.
Digital cameras, computers and jet printers have replaced the darkroom for many photographers, and Ganz and Tibbs are in that category. The finished works by Ganz were made by using computer programs to piece together landscape details in a patchwork of information. Ganz works in a variety of scale, sometimes quite large. Tibbs exhibits work of a smaller uniform size. Both favor the possibilities of digital convenience. Conceptually, they are intrigued by looking back on America’s photographic legacy of land documentation, and they insert female perspective into that paradigm.