Faculty portfolios

Jennifer Colten

Senior Lecturer


Steinberg 023

Campus Box 1031

Jennifer Colten received her MFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art in 1988. She teaches photography at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1993, she was a recipient of a Mid-America Arts Alliance NEA Fellowship in Photography. In 1995, Colten traveled to Colombia, South America, after winning an International Arts Program Network Award, an award that encourages cultural learning and arts exchange. Colten has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. Her photographs are in the collections of the Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota; Museo de Antioquia, Medellin, South America; Southwestern Bell Telephone; Mark Twain Banks; Hewlett Packard Corporation; and many private collections.

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Of Place and Non-Place

These photographs explore questions of Place. The unnamed environments exhibit clear detail and non-specific location. The many contradictions that occur within these photographs explore how a sense of Place and Placeless-ness can co-exist. These images show detail that points to particular things, yet no identifying information is gained. The marks of human traffic and engagement with the landscape point to nothing specific and offer no resolution. Instead they leave a residue of psychological longing and a sense of suspended anticipation. While the scenes are hauntingly familiar they do not allow the viewer to locate a particular place or time.

These photographs present traces. They are not precise documents, as these photographed places are not exact records and do not describe particular locations. Instead these are places unnoticed and vulnerable. The visible marks made can easily be erased, removing histories and evidences.

The scenes are unsettling. At times they bear likeness to a crime scene. No violence has occurred, yet there is a subtle awareness of un-ease and disorientation of physical boundaries. The landscapes' horizons are eliminated, rendering the viewer slightly off-balance, searching for reassurance. With no guarantee of security, the viewer is left hanging in anticipation.