Jennifer Steensma Hoag
(b.1964; resides Grand Rapids, MI)
Landscape is a human construct, created as much within us as around us. - Jennifer Steensma Hoag
In her Terra Incognita series, Jennifer Steensma Hoag photographs military and industrial objects while carefully omitting any contextual clues as to their original purpose. This ambiguity subverts their technological function and instead causes sturdy crossbeams, slabs of concrete, and curled plastic tubing to resemble the land art created by artists of the region. Formally composed square pictures depict desert salt flats where intense blue skies set off the neutral tans and grays of the earth and the objects erected there. In both form and color, these objects seem to merge with the organic elements of the landscape, yet their obvious man-made origin introduces a sense of construction that infuses the whole scene.
Hoag earned her MFA from Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York (1992), and is currently an assistant professor at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her solo exhibitions include Interpreting Mary at Campos Photography Center, Rochester and Terra Incognita at both the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the Adams Hall Gallery at Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois. Her work has also been exhibited at such places as Flatfile Photography Gallery, Chicago; Paint Creek Center for the Arts, Rochester, Michigan; Gallery Arcadia, Grand Rapids, Michigan; and the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Wendover, Utah.