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international photography annual 1 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Jenee Mateer
Baltimore, Maryland

Towson University,
Assistant Professor of Photo Imaging

page 102-103

detail image


Break Boundary'statement/Jenee Mateer  2011

I have always had a great affinity for the water.  The sound of it calms and grounds me but I worry because every year the beach seems less like the place I knew as a child.  By slow degrees, we are changing the ecological balance, the chemical composition of our oceans.  Oil spills are just one small part of the problem. Global warming too is changing the weather and the way that water flows. I worry. Water sustains us; it makes our planet a friendly place to live.

Break boundary‚ is a term I discovered reading Marshal McLuhan's book, The Medium is the Message.  He defines it as the transformative point at which a system is irrevocably changed.  I think about the water in relation to this term and I also think about it in relation to photography, specifically, the language of photography in relation to the language of painting.

New technologies that allow for the manipulation of the image have changed forever the way we understand the photograph as a document of truth.  Certain celebrated photographic images of our time (I am thinking specifically of the photographs of Jeff Wall, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Andreas Gursky) are not those that capture a single moment but rather those that are composed of many moments to suggest a single moment.  They make us aware of the medium itself and they are interesting because they play with our understanding of the structure and language of the medium.  They are composed much more like paintings and they make us aware that time has become, to a greater extent, a tool of the photographer rather than a fixed variable.  

In a similar way, abstract painting also made us aware of the structure and the language of the medium of painting.  I have always been drawn to the work of Mark Rothko.  His paintings suggest windows through which to enter another dimension.  His resonating squares of color suggest a boundary between here and there, inside and outside. These photographs, on the one hand, very simply reflect my love for the water but they also reflect the influence that painting has had on my understanding of photography.  They play with the boundary between earth and sky and the boundary between photography and painting to suggest my belief that the language used to define and understand these two mediums has evolved, and that the emergence of a new language is upon us.  



born: 1965, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania


Maryland Institute College of Art,  MFA 1996
University of Virginia, BA 1987

selected awards/honors

Award of Merit, "Pleasure of the Text", Maryland Federation of Art Works on Paper 2012
Echols Scholar, University of Virginia

selected publications

Mateer, Jenee. The Animals. Blurb Photobooks, 2012<>
Mateer, Jenee. This is Visual Poetry.   Chapbookspublisher,, 2011 <>
Bret McCabe,  "Little Unknowns", Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore, MD, March 2, 2011, Arts:p.35+
24th Annual McNeese National Works on Paper Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, March 25-April 23, 2011, Shearman Fine Arts Center Annex Grand Gallery, McNeese State University,Lake Charles, LA.

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Jordan Faye Contemporary:  Visceral Spectrum, Baltimore, MD 2012    solo
Jordan Faye Contemporary: Break Boundary, Baltimore, MD 2011    solo
Howard County Center for the Arts, Ellicot City MD: Faux Fossils, 2009    2-person
University Gallery, Salve Regina University, Newport RI:  Pharmakon, 2006    solo

selected group shows

12 12 Gallery, Richmond VA:  International Juried Exhibit of Works on Paper 2012
Masur Museum of Art, Monroe LA:  48th Annual Juried Exhibition
Abercrombie Gallery, McNeese State University, Lake Charles LA:  24th Annual McNeese  National Works on Paper Exhibition  
Silvermine Gallery, New Canaan CT:  Spectra 2010, National Photography Triennial


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