HAVENS FINDS BEAUTY IN THE UGLY, RIGHT WHERE IT BELONGS

Desolate. Alone. Unflinching in the face of inevitable decay. Teri Havens captures photographs of memory in the process of being lost. Fading faces, fading light, fading structures. This is America. This was America.


Born in Lubbock, Texas, Teri Havens has scoured the country in her ‘88 Ford van looking for the perfect bar. But that might mean something different to her than it does to you. Her photographs show street-lit still-lifes in wasted landscapes, dark skies with eerie light, coming from some ungodly source–a source that turns out to be a bastard sun. These buildings were born old–like a baby named Bertice or when a mare gives birth to her colt on the dusty ground and walks away. This is not the American dream. This is where men and women go to drown that dream like a sack of kittens–because it hurts too much to remember.

As is also true of broken-hearted America, it is not without its solace. Theses structures are only exceeded in their loneliness by the land around them. In that, they serve as both shelter and storm, as both cause and effect, as the end of hope and the beginning of hopelessness. And yet, like the decay of America–poignantly beautiful.     

 

PotatoMike- What inspired you became an artist?

Teri Havens- Curiosity. The need to infiltrate.

PM- Why did you choose your medium?

TH- Photography is a great excuse to do something that otherwise would be considered pointless and absurd.

Example:

“I’m going to spend the next few years hanging out in old bars.”

Not really acceptable.

“I’m going to spend the next few years photographing old bars”

Acceptable. Sort of.

PM- What are you trying to communicate through your art?

TH- I’m generally not all that aware of an agenda when I photograph, but evidence would suggest that I am very into loneliness, isolation, self-sufficiency and the backwash of the American Dream.    

 

PM- How do you pick a subject for your artwork?

TH- I’ve always been drawn to the underclass because these are people and places that are often overlooked and I think it’s important to recognize them. It’s also where I feel the most at home.

 

PM- What would you like a viewer of your work to take away?

TH- To find beauty in the unexpected.

 

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