Terry Bleser‘s collection Searching for a Sense of Home, part of the Atelier 33 exhibition, is on display in the Griffin Main Gallery until March 26, 2021. Terry’s series explores the idea of trying to find comfort in a new place through understanding one’s relationship with the land. We asked the artist some questions to hear more about her collection.
Which of these images was the impetus for this series? How did it inform how you completed the series?
The image called Fairyland was one of the initial photographs in the series. The marshes often present as thorny bristly places that resist exploration, but this small circle of green grasses surrounded by trees was an invitation to conjure up the fairies to play. It made me think about our age old conflicting feelings about nature.
How has your photography changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic? Has the Atelier been a motivator to persevere through these trying times?
After 25 years of living outside of Boston I relocated farther south in
Maryland. This was a month before COVID-19 began its spread around the country. It made seeking out new friends and finding all the usual
essentials of daily life difficult. Landscape photography gave me the joy of exploring the area and getting to experience at least one aspect of this
new place. The Atelier was a wonderful opportunity to connect with other photographers and continue to grow in my art.
Has photographing your new home in this context changed your perception of what “home” can mean?
When I arrived here I focussed on moving in and arranging a comfortable nest. Not able to socialize with people, I started exploring the front porches and lawns of the neighborhood to glean a sense of the community from the way they presented themselves through their houses and landscaping. But I longed for a different kind of connection. I realized that in my old home place there were natural areas that I frequented and became familiar with. That gave me a broader sense of home that extended beyond the house and city to the natural world. It was a larger sense of place on the planet that I missed. So I began to explore with my camera, looking for a place.
What do you hope we as viewers take away from viewing your work?
I would hope that we as a species could be more mindful in our treatment of the land. Wetlands have often in the past been considered pest ridden, mucky, thorny, impenetrable places that need to be drained and filled in. But the marshes are more complicated than that. They protect us and provide resources for industries.
Tell us what is next for you creatively.
I have found two places that I want to get to know well, to spend time developing an awareness of the lives that transpire there. I will carry my camera there and spend some time watching and learning.
Visit Terry Bleser’s website to see more of her work.