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Upstairs Artspace to showcase photographs of “American spaces” in summer solo exhibition

Updated: May 16




Tema Stauffer, associate professor of photography at East Tennessee State University, whose work examines the social, economic, and cultural landscape of American spaces, will exhibit her work at Upstairs Artspace from June 9 through August 30, 2024, in a show titled, Analogues: North & South. 


An opening reception with artist talk is planned for June 9 from 2:30-4:30 pm in the gallery located at 49 S. Trade Street, Tryon.


The gallery’s lower level will feature works from Stauffer’s 2016-2017 series titled, “Upstate,” which portray the lingering legacy of American industrial and agricultural history in and around Hudson, New York. 


The upstairs level will showcase works from her “Southern Fiction” series taken between 2018 and 2021, which explore the environments that shaped the imaginations of 20th century Southern writers including Alice Walker, Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams and others. 


“Upstairs is excited to showcase this exhibition of compelling photographic images presenting in documentary-like fashion, a beautifully, thoughtfully told visual narrative,” says show curator, Eldred Hudson. “As the show’s title suggests, viewers are given the opportunity to explore the similarities and differences between two geographical regions and topical subjects that deepen one’s understanding and interpretation of the American experience.”


Stauffer earned her MFA in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. Her work has been exhibited at the Houston Fotofest Biennial, LiShui Photography Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, Terra Museum of American Art, Mint Museum, Musee Departmental d’ Art Contemporain de Rouchechourt, and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, among other institutions. 


Prior to her appointment at East Tennessee State, Stauffer taught at Concordia University in Montreal, Ramapo College of New Jersey, College of Staten Island, School at ICP, William Paterson University, and Toxico Cultura in Mexico City.


Her work is represented by Tracey Morgan Gallery in Asheville.


In 2018, Daylight Books published a monograph of her series, "Upstate." The book was nominated for the Unveil’d Photobook Award 2018 and the prints were exhibited at ETSU’s Reece Museum, Tracey Morgan Gallery, ilon Art Gallery, and Hudson Hall. Daylight released a monograph of “Southern Fiction” in Fall 2022. This series was recently exhibited at Auburn University's Biggin Gallery, Tracey Morgan Gallery, ETSU's Reece Museum, and MTSU's Baldwin Photographic Gallery. 


Upstairs Artspace is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 12-5pm, and stays open a little later on Tryon’s Fourth Friday celebration evenings. More information on the gallery and show can be found online at UpstairsArtspace.org, or call 828-859-2828. 



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