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Teresa Van Hatten-Granath

Teresa Van Hatten-Granath

September 1 - October 31, 2012, East Wing Gallery

"Pristine to Extreme: Plastic in Our Oceans"


"Pristine to Extreme: Plastic in Our Oceans"
Teresa Van Hatten-Granath's photographs, "Pristine to Extreme: Plastic in Our Oceans" will be on display in The Renaissance Center's East Wing Gallery September 1 - October 31. The exhibit is free and open to the public. An Artist's Reception is scheduled for Friday, October 19, 5pm - 7pm, and is free and open to the public.
For this work, the Belmont University Associate Professor of Art visually expresses her study of ocean plastic conducted during her spring 2011 sabbatical. She spent 2 weeks with scientists and researchers on a 72-foot sailboat looking for evidence of plastic and toxic chemicals in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Chile and in the Chilean Fjords. They found the waters nearly pristine. Teresa then traveled to the coast of California where the landscape and waters are plagued by plastic washed in from across the globe. This exhibition is a documentation of both experiences. Teresa's work has been exhibited in juried, group and one-artist exhibitions throughout the country.
Artist Bio
Teresa Van Hatten-Granath was an instructor at Clemson University and Greenville Technical College before joining the faculty at Belmont University in 1998. Her work has been exhibited in juried, group and one-artist exhibitions in Kentucky, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, New Mexico, and Arizona. In addition to numerous exhibition awards since 1989, Teresa received an Emerging Artist Scholarship for the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in Florida in 1997. Teresa is a member of Alpha Epsilon Lambda, Upstate Visual Arts [SC], the Society for Photographic Education, and the Women's Art Group [MN] which she co-founded.
Teresa is also the Founder of Green Bag Lady, an eco-friendly art project started in 2008. Teresa and her team of volunteer "Bagettes" make fabric bags out of donated material and give them away for FREE in exchange for a promise to use them instead of paper or plastic. To date they have given away over 15,000 bags all over the world. To read more go to www.greenbaglady.org.
 Artist Statement

This body of photographic work includes 2 parts. The first is from my sabbatical trip in the spring of 2011 to Chile. In March, I embarked on a 2 week journey through the Chilean Fjords from Puerto William to Valdivia aboard a marine research vessel called the Sea Dragon. The crew of the Sea Dragon consisted of 10 people: Captain Clive Cosby (England), First mate Dale Selvam (New Zealand), Jeff Ernst self-professed “boat monkey” (California), Robert J. Blake (Nashville) children’s book author and illustrator, Brit Liggett (NYC) green blogger and videographer, Anna Rotander (Sweden) scientist from MTM lab working on the United Nations Safe Planet Campaign, Tasha Erding (Minnesota) age 15, high school student, Alfred Savinelli (New Mexico), Chris Hanson (Minnesota) high school geography teacher, and Teresa VanHatten-Granath (Nashville) green blogger (greenbaglady.org), artist, Belmont University Professor.

During our time aboard, we were on shifts stearing the boat, sleeping and seeing some incredible landscape. We were able to anchor in some locations along the way and explore the coast line. My intention for the trip was to see, study, locate, identify and photograph the various plastics that plague our oceans. Fortunately, this area of the world is largely unpopulated and incredibly pristine with only tiny bits of plastic evidence.

Still interested in plastic pollution upon my return to the U.S., I contacted some friends and fellow artists in California. Many portions of the California coastline struggle with plastic pollution washed in every day from what has become known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This is an area of plastic accumulation in the North Pacific between California and Hawaii. It is estimated that the accumulation area is approximately twice the size of Texas. (more info: 5gyres.org)

The second part of this exhibition includes includes images of natural objects, plastic or a combination of both. These four pieces challenge the viewer to identify natural versus made made items in the images. To further explore these objects, a table is set up for viewers to touch and interact with many of the objects in the photographs.

The final set of photographs are objects collected on the beaches of California. I have long been fascinated with ocean treasures, always collecting shells, rocks and wood whenever I am near the shore. In the past couple of years, I have become fascinated with the objects the ocean ejects that are not natural. These include plastic, styrofoam, metal and fibers such as rope. I am particularly intrigued when the ocean manages to make these man-made items look like natural forms.

My interest in plastic and waste reduction has culminated in the Green Bag Lady project. Green Bag Lady is an eco-friendly art project I started in 2008. My team of volunteers and I make bags from donated fabric and give them away for FREE in exchange for a promise to refuse paper and plastic when shopping. To date we have given away over 21,000 bags world-wide. The use of these bags is documented at greenbaglady.org.

tnartscommission-logoThank you for attending this exhibition. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The travel for this exhibition was made possible in part by a Tennessee Arts Commission individual artist grant: www.tn.gov/arts/


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