Arts Fort Worth



ARTS FORT WORTH - GALLERY THREE


I Waited

Natalie Christensen
I Waited

Archival pigment print on Italian cotton rag, matte UV laminate, aluminum dibond, white shadow box frame
55 x 37 inches
2018


Gallery Three - The Deconstructed Self

Exhibition on Display: November 5 - December 12, 2021

Works by Natalie Christensen

EXHIBITION STATEMENT

In 2014 I moved from the state of Kentucky to New Mexico leaving my lifelong home and my 25-year career as a psychotherapist behind. While it was an exciting moment it was also a time of questioning and reflection.

Like many artists who have come to New Mexico, I was immediately drawn to the distinctive Southwestern light. The beauty of the natural environment is evident to most people; however, my interest was to explore the more banal peripheral landscapes that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. I began by photographing color fields and geometric shapes. I was interested in the way light and shadow could spark complex narratives, and I quickly became aware that these isolated moments in the suburban landscape were rich with metaphor. Closed and open doors, empty parking lots and forgotten swimming pools drew me to a scene; yet it was my reactions to these objects and spaces that elicited interpretation and projection.

As a psychotherapist, I learned the art of asking the question – in many ways these photographs are an extension of that work. The symbols and spaces in my images are an invitation to explore a rich world that is concealed from consciousness. And the scenes are an enticement to contemplate narratives that have no remarkable life or history yet tap into something deeply familiar to our experience; often disturbing, sometimes amusing…unquestionably present.

ARTIST BIO

Photographer Natalie Christensen has an inimitable, and enchanting, focus on the exploration of the more banal peripheral landscapes that often go unnoticed by the casual observer. “I quickly became aware that these isolated moments in the suburban landscape were rich with metaphor. Closed and open doors, empty parking lots and forgotten swimming pools draw me to a scene; yet it was my reactions to these objects and spaces that elicited interpretation and projection.” Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States, she has exhibited her photographs in the U.S. and internationally, including Santa Fe, New York, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, London, Berlin and Barcelona. She was recently honored as an invited guest of the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, D.C. and joined a select delegation of architects, architectural photographers and curators for a one-week cultural tour of the UAE. Christensen had worked as a psychotherapist for over 25 years and was particularly influenced by the theories of depth psychologist Carl Jung. This influence is evident in her photographs, as shadows and psychological metaphors are favored subjects. “The symbols and spaces in my images are an invitation to explore a rich world that is concealed from consciousness, and an enticement to contemplate narratives that have no remarkable life yet tap into something deeply familiar to our experience; often disturbing, sometimes amusing…unquestionably present.” In Santa Fe, her work is inspired by commonplace architecture and streetscapes. She realizes that the places she frequents for her images are probably not what people visualize when they think of Santa Fe, a major tourist destination with a carefully cultivated image. “I don't have to go anywhere special to make my photography; instead I find my images around shopping centers, apartment complexes and office parks.” Choosing to shoot in locations that may be viewed as uninteresting or even visually off-putting, Christensen finds this challenging, to “see” something hidden in plain sight, noting “it is our nature to ignore what is unpleasant, but sometimes I get a glimpse of the sublime in these ordinary places. When I find it, it feels like I have discovered gold.” Christensen is repeatedly drawn to the swimming pool as a metaphor for the unconscious. In American culture, pools symbolize the luxury of leisure. Yet she also sees a darker interpretation - evoking repressed desires, unexplained tension and looming disaster. “These photographs of a manufactured oasis suggest a binary connection between the world above and the world below, linking submersion in water with the workings of the subconscious.” She dismantles all of these scenes to color fields, geometry and shadow. She shoots every day and is almost never without a camera. The Royal Photographic Society recently presented her artwork in a traveling museum exhibition throughout the United Kingdom, and had her as a guest lecturer. She led a photography workshop there, as well at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. Christensen has participated in collaborative site-specific projects at Iconic Standard Vision Billboard, Los Angeles; El Rey Court, Santa Fe; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; and Peckham Levels, London. She has been named one of "Ten Photographers to Watch" by the Los Angeles Center of Digital Art. As one of five invited photographers for “The National 2018: Best of Contemporary Photography” at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Indiana, her work was purchased for the permanent collection. Christensen was also the Purchase Prize recipient of the 33rd Annual International Exhibition at the University of Texas at Tyler. Christensen's photographs are in private and corporate collections. Her work has received awards, including top finalist of 48,000 entries for the Smithsonian's 15th Annual Photo Contest and Honorable Mentions for the Julia Margaret Cameron Award and the Chromatic Awards. Global media have taken notice, with features in, among others, Xi Draconis Books; LandEscape Art Review, United Kingdom; Better Photography Magazine, India; Art Reveal Magazine; Magazine 43, Philippines, Germany and Hong Kong; Site Unseen; Lens Culture; All About Photo and Women in Photography.

 

ABOUT THE ARTS COUNCIL OF FORT WORTH

The Arts Council of Fort Worth was formed in 1963 to provide funding and leadership to stimulate and assure the advancement of the arts throughout Fort Worth. Today's Arts Council continues to promote, nurture, and support the arts in Fort Worth by providing fiscal and business resources to local artists and arts groups while also serving the community through management of the Fort Worth Public Art Program and Fort Worth Community Arts Center. The Arts Council of Fort Worth is supported in part by the City of Fort Worth and the Texas Commission on the Arts. For more information, please visit www.artsfortworth.org.

ABOUT THE FORT WORTH COMMUNITY ARTS CENTER

Located at 1300 Gendy Street, the Fort Worth Community Arts Center is part of the most architecturally significant museum districts in the United States, Fort Worth's Cultural District. The Arts Center's mission promotes experienced and emerging artists with nine indoor galleries and an outdoor courtyard gallery. The Arts Center's Hardy and Betty Sanders black box theatre and the William Edrington Scott Theatre hosts a wide range of performances by local and nationally known artists and organizations. The historically significant building is home to artists' studios, nonprofit arts organization office suites, and classrooms. Learn more at www.fwcac.org

 

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