“Southern Fiction,” an exhibition of photographs by East Tennessee State University photography professor Tema Stauffer, is now open to the public at the Reece Museum. The exhibition is on display through March 1. A reception will be held on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 5-7 p.m. The museum will also be open for special weekend hours on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
“Southern Fiction” explores the history of the American South using its literary tradition as a road map, focusing on environments that have shaped the imaginations of 20th century Southern writers during their formative years or throughout the course of their lives and careers. The images portray domestic settings, vernacular architecture and rural landscapes that visually resonate with the history, culture and atmosphere of the Deep South.
Stauffer is a photographer whose work examines the social, economic and cultural landscape of American spaces. She is currently an associate professor of photography at ETSU. From 2018-21, Stauffer made road trips to Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi to shoot large-format color photographs of settings associated with writers such as Flannery O’Connor, Alice Walker, Truman Capote, Harper Lee, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams and Richard Wright.
The series depicts the former homes of some of these writers, sites that were relevant to their backgrounds and literary works and the surrounding architecture and landscapes that shaped their fiction.
Stauffer’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. In 2018, Daylight Books published a monograph of her “Upstate” series portraying the lingering legacy of American industrial and agricultural history in and around Hudson, New York. 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.
The Reece Museum is part of the Center of Excellence for Appalachian Studies and Services, which is housed in the ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies. The Reece Museum is located on the ETSU campus and is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, visit etsu.edu/reece or call 423-439-4392.
Article submitted by East Tennessee State University.