Geography of the Peace ©1988
Cibachrome photograph made from photomontage.
10 ½” x 8”
“Though her art uses the techniques of collage and the aesthetics of photography, Braunstein considers herself neither a collagist nor a photographer. But while Braunstein always uses found images, never using the camera to create images, her art is in fact more closely related to photography than to collage, particularly to aspects of darkroom photography in her manipulating, clarifying, extracting, combining, and reproducing existing images. Her sole use of the camera is mechanical, to reproduce her collaged images so that in their final material form her words may appear to be authentic photo documentation rather than pieced paper constructions. She exploits the appearance of photography to deny the fact of her paper collages and in order to simulate documentary “reality.” Braunstein thus uses the camera for one of its oldest and original purposes: to fictionalize, much as such pioneering photographers as Oscar G Rejlander (1813-1875), Henry Peach Robinson (1830-1901 or the cinematographer Georges Méliès (1861-1938) created images that never existed except in their art.”
— Howard Fox is Curator of Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
“In addition to the photo collages or montages, Braunstein also creates books. The books have a far more hand-wrought quality, and are put into the world more as objects — as things — than as images of other things. But there are close similarities of concept and techniques with the photographs. As always, Braunstein utilizes existing sources — other books — to create her own books. She combines images extracted from her usual sources of magazines, books and printed matter, with illustrations or text pages from bound volumes such as children’s storybooks or scientific manuals. Some of her books “read” like normal books — that is, from one page to the next, in a sequence from first to last, and often there is a visual, if not always logical, narrative. But other of her books are sculptural with holes, windows and other contours cut through the pages, so that in turning from page to page, new information accumulates layer upon layer; these books are read not only from one page to another, but from one page through another. In the hands of the reader, one of Braunstein’s sculptural books becomes a kinetic sculpture whose visual and intelligible content changes with each turn of the page.”
“The magic of Terry’s work is that she has given new meaning and unexpected context to a common symbol we all recognize. The combination of the grand scale and the intimate, often nostalgic images act to draw visitors to the site and invite interaction. Rarely, in public art projects, is the resolution of formal issues so beautifully married with the subject matter, which, for so many, is the heart of the memorial. Happily, Terry’s sculpture is an object of extraordinary beauty that succeeds on all levels and for all ages.”
— Constance Glenn, Director
University Art Museum
California State University, Long Beach
“There are as many definitions of “art” as there are expressions of it. If art is defined as a visual philosophy of life or a search for meaning, Terry Braunstein creates it. Whether expressed as a poignant view of human behavior, a nostalgic perception of things past, an honest look at life and loss, the wisdom learned from collective experience, desperate longing for love and desire, or anxious hope for the future, Braunstein’s art explores it all. Working in a variety of media that includes . . . . installations. . . she creates work that stimulates the mind and the heart on myriad levels.
Each visual narration (of her installations) can be interpreted as a poetic metaphor or a haunting allegory. A middle-aged man with one foot in a trashcan stares at a globe placed beyond his reach. An older woman slumps in a child’s wagon as red balloons float past her window. Two melancholy widows dance together as birds fly out of a gilded cage.”
— Shirle Gottleib
“To create a picture in the way that Terry Braunstein does is, in essence, to reassemble pieces of our familiar world into a surprising, yet convincing, new world. . . . There are no ready answers to the questions Braunstein poses, and no promise of a resolution forthcoming. In fact, there seem only to be more questions, and more cross-references. By importing the loaded content of mass media imagery into her artistic landscape, she not only challenges the assumptions implicit in contemporary culture but also addresses one of the basic aesthetic dilemmas: the interpretive gap between appearance and truth.”
— Noriko Gamblin, Curator
Long Beach Museum of Art