MAY 2019: JENNIFER STEENSMA HOAG
In "Compromised Beauty," photographs of beautiful landscapes are complicated by the inclusion of workers in bright yellow Hazmat suits, suggesting environmental contamination from which the worker needs to be protected. In this series I explore the correlation between environmental beauty and perceived environmental health, and the impact of humans on the environment.
While photography has been used to document and aestheticize the landscape, digital photography is also used to project what the future may be like.
My photographs are fictions that combine a directorial approach to image making with a modernist photographic landscape aesthetic. Multiple photographs of my model are taken on location, and at times the images are digitally combined to suggest many figures present at the site.
Because the circumstances depicted are ambiguous and the beautiful environment provides no clues to why the setting is inhospitable, the viewer is left to reconcile an unsettling narrative.
Jennifer Steensma Hoag
Jennifer Steensma Hoag is a conceptual artist who works primarily in photography and video. Steensma Hoag received an MFA in imaging arts from Rochester Institute of Technology, and she has lectured on photography at Rochester Institute of Technology, the Dryden Theater at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, and the New York Public Library. Awards for her artwork include an artist-in-residence with The Center for Land Use Interpretation, a Calvin Research Fellowship, and a Community Giving Program Grant from the Target Corporation. Hoag’s photographs have been exhibited at universities and art centers across the country. Her current and recent photography series, “Broken Models” and “Compromised Beauty,” address environmental concerns. She is a professor in the Department of Art & Art History at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she has taught for over twenty years. Her work can be found at jennifersteensmahoag.com