Upstairs Artspace to showcase photographs of “American spaces”

Published 12:11 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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Reflections on Deep South, Upstate New York in summer show


TRYON—Tema Stauffer, a photographer whose work examines the social, economic, and cultural landscape of American spaces, will exhibit her work at Upstairs Artspace from June 9 through August 30 in a show titled “Analogues: North & South, Photographs by Tema Stauffer.”

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The works from Stauffer’s solo show will be displayed on both the upstairs and downstairs levels of Tryon’s contemporary art gallery, located at 49 S. Trade St. The opening reception with an artist talk is planned for Sunday, June 9, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

The gallery’s lower level will include pieces from her 2016-2017 series titled “Upstate,” which portrays the lingering legacy of American industrial and agricultural history in and around Hudson, New York, while the upstairs level will showcase pieces from her “Southern Fiction” series taken between 2018 and 2021, which explores the environments that shaped the imaginations of 20th-century Southern writers, including Alice Walker, Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty and others. 

“This exhibition of photography presents in documentary-like fashion a narrative of American cultural, literary, and economic landscapes and atmospheres, with the ups and downs of American history woven throughout,” says show curator Eldred Hudson. “As the show’s title suggests, there is opportunity to realize similarities and differences in geographical terms, but also as viewers and interpreters of the American experience in all its facets.”

Stauffer earned her MFA in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. Her work has been exhibited at the Houston Fotofest Biennial, LiShui Photography Festival, Chicago Cultural Center, Terra Museum of American Art, Mint Museum, Musee Departmental d’ Art Contemporain de Rouchechourt, and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, among other institutions. 

Her work is represented by Tracey Morgan Gallery in Asheville and she is currently an associate professor of photography at East Tennessee State University. She previously taught at Concordia University in Montreal, Ramapo College of New Jersey, College of Staten Island, School at ICP, William Paterson University, and Toxico Cultura in Mexico City.

In 2018, Daylight Books published a monograph of her series, “Upstate.” The book was nominated for the Unveil’d Photobook Award 2018 and the prints were exhibited at ETSU’s Reece Museum, Tracey Morgan Gallery, ilon Art Gallery, and Hudson Hall.

Daylight Books released a monograph of “Southern Fiction” in Fall 2022. This series was recently exhibited at Auburn University’s Biggin Gallery, Tracey Morgan Gallery, ETSU’s Reece Museum, and MTSU’s Baldwin Photographic Gallery. 

More information on Stauffer can be found on her website,

Upstairs Artspace is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 12-5 pm, and stays open a little later on Tryon’s Fourth Friday celebration evenings. More information on the gallery and show can be found online at, or call 828-859-2828.