Selected press reviews and uses of Teresa Petersen's artwork:

Interview with Teresa Petersen, Collage and Assemblage Artist

Crafty Creative Gal, September 28, 2013 by Serena Y Lee

Recently while surfing the internet, looking for project ideas using old magazine paper, I came across the website of Detroit-based artist, Teresa Petersen. I was immediately drawn to her artwork, especially her collages, which combine thrifted vintage paintings and images from old magazines. I have a special fondness for upcycled art, and Teresa’s creative reuse of vintage magazine images really caught my eye. I ended up purchasing two of her prints.

Interview with Collage Artist, Teresa Petersen

Chicago Art Magazine, May 11, 2011 by Saren Hauser
Interview for "They Call Me Mellow Jello" at the Eyeporium

Teresa Petersen opens a new exhibition titled “They Call Me Mellow Jello” at Eyeporium Gallery on Saturday, May 14 from noon to 5 pm. Her work emphasizes and explores the relationships between women’s stereotypes and ideals: in culture, in nature, and in our throwaway society.

Great 'Race' art show examines identity

The Detroit News, July 2, 2009 by Michael H. Hodges
Review of "Race" at The Gallery Project

Peter Williams, a longtime painting instructor at Wayne State University, asked some former students to contribute to "Race," a show he is curating for Ann Arbor's Gallery Project through July 5.

The result is one of the punchiest exhibits in town -- a varied, high-quality collection of works that, one way or another, "address what constitutes race in the age of Obama," says gallery co-founder Gloria Pristchet....

With "Mixed Patterns," a mixed-media assemblage, Detroit artist Teresa Petersen has created a puckish work you long to touch. She glued images that look as if they were cut out of old "Peoples of the World" text onto five wooden bars that slip back and forth on top of one another. With it, you can give, say, a Central Asian chief the torso of a perky 1955 American housewife and the bare feet and legs of an Amazonian tribesman.

The work -- with its suggestion of the interchangeability of identity -- is strikingly handsome and crisp. And it's a total hoot to play with.

Mixed Patterns

Gallery Project's 'Race' a nuanced statement

The Ann Arbor News, June 21, 2009 by John Carlos Cantu
Review of "Race" at The Gallery Project

It's not a surprise Ann Arbor's cutting-edge Gallery Project would present an exhibit with the in-your-face title "Race." The surprise is what a subdued and nuanced show this is....

Detroit mixed-media specialist Teresa Petersen's "Mixed Patterns," on the other hand, is a clever five-part assemblage that splits 10 models of differing races, genders, nationalities and occupations into sliding regions of head, chest, abdomen, legs, and feet.

There's Always Room, Stage & Canvas

Real Detroit, May 12 2009 by Robert del Valle
Review of Cafe 1923 Show

Teresa Petersen is a master at collage — a discipline that requires not only the right elements, but also a proper juxtaposition of those elements within a frame. HATCH invited her to Cafe 1923 and she showed up with A Show about Jello, Birds, Games, Snacks and Women. Like we said - the right elements properly juxtaposed. If the title strikes you as facetious, be advised - Petersen has actually fashioned a beguiling gallimaufry and its overall substance gels quite nicely in the eyes of the viewer.

Area Revue)s( article page

Je de Femme (I am Woman)

Area Revue)s( no. 17, June 2008 by Julia Barber.

Three pieces are featured in this French art journal; the issue has a game theme.

Click on the picture at left for a larger-size view of the article.

Cut. Jump cut. Cross cut.

The Gallery Journal (Marygrove College), September 2007 by Nelson Smith
Press for "Rock, Paper, Scissors" show at the Marygrove College

Collage as a technique has become ubiquitous in the last century. We all witness the plethora of printed matter as it overflows the mail slots and coffee tables of our homes. All this ephemera has inspired artists such as Romare Bearden, Ray Johnson, or Joseph Cornell to cut and reassemble this kind of material into a transcendent or poetic form. It is likely that each of us, at some point in our experience has been invited to cut and paste from the swirling pools of the glossy-print labyrinth.

Collage can get linked up with poetry. This linkage might happen because of the strong relationship to the printed page - printed word. For example, critic Holland Cotter, in a review of Ray Johnson's collages for Art in America [Oct, 1995] writes, "even when the means are primarily visual, one has a sense of verbal syntax at work, bristling with similes and metaphors." The clue in Cotter's review is the idea that the assemblage of imagery directly translates into a language construct in it's own right.

Teresa Petersen's collage work takes on this idea with particular energy and skill. Petersen has distinguished her work by applying fresh strategies and unique logic to this well-worn collaging process. Viewing Ms. Petersen's work is like encountering a strange message that is at once familiar and foreign. She clearly exposes her methodologies yet the exposed process is only the entry-point to her version of Cotter's "poetic visual syntax." The interactive works using game-boards, faux interactive science displays, or psychological testing systems impose her logic more intensely on the active observer.

Whether an active or passive observer, one is forced to connect-the-dots in Petersen's universe where pies and cakes logically correspond to human personality or, perhaps, the very structure of the cosmos.

Shadow Art Fair

See Teresa's booth (as well as others, of course) at Ypsilanti's Shadow Art Fair.

Urban Alchemy: Artifacts Transformed: Review, May 31, 2007 by Nick Sousanis
Review of the "Urban Alchemy" show at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit

Teresa Petersen's collages applied to found objects develop her own vocabulary, and quite whole imaginary realm. For this show, she even reuses the scraps from what she's cut her imagery from as stencils to apply silhouettes to objects.

Women Image Women: Review, April 12, 2007 by Dolores S. Slowinski
Review of the "Women Image Women" show at the Scarab Club

"Women Image Women" became a multi-dimensional exhibition of 40 works by 14 women and an event that attempted to singularly change our perception of women, particularly crones.

Teresa Petersen cleverly takes old mechanical devices like time clocks to create visual puns that point to the stages of womanhood. Time Clock is a time clock from Detroit Edison. A diagram of a woman is superimposed over the glass in the center and a tiny diagram of a woman with her ovaries colored in is in the lower left corner of the glass. The piece gives form to the idea that the woman's 'time' for child-bearing is running out.

'Real/Surreal' featured at Art Center

The Ann Arbor News, September 10, 2006 by John Carlos Cantu
Review of "Real/Surreal" at the Ann Arbor Art Center

Detroit's Teresa Petersen offers the most joyful art in the exhibit. Her collage and assemblage/collage works are confluences of distaff imagery that aren't confined to a single logic. They are instead, toys, pictures, and furniture that play with our expectations.

Some works - "Mile High Pie" and "Flowers," for example - are delightful collages that mingle different kinds of images. Other works, like the assemblage/collage "The Warbler Game," are encased games that challenge the viewer's intellect in a charming and enjoyable manner. It may seem surreal, but Petersen just wants art to have fun.

'Surreal' misfires with title

The Michigan Daily, September 8, 2006 by Andrew Sargus Klein
Review of "Real/Surreal" at the Ann Arbor Art Center

[Petersen] nods to pop art - Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein - extend far into the nostalgic corners of the American experience.

Petersen's images have the vocabulary of the '50s. But she's smirking with both an ironic and sarcastic edge. "Gardening for Children" is not surreal.... While surrealists have used popular imagery as a tool, in Petersen's case it comes off as a wry social viewpoint: Look how ridiculous these outdated notions are.

But in the context of Petersen's collages, the viewer is presented a culmination of experience, not the internal workings of one's subconscious. The fact that her medium is collage - a mixed assembly of images not original to the artist - affects the personal expression of the piece.

Petersen's wonderful "Woman and Moon Match Up Game" and "A Couple Embarking Match Up Game" look like they came from a barn in northeast Connecticut. They consist of parallel rows of images on separate bars that slide on top of each other to create random combinations. These two works stretch into the absurd. And it's wonderful.

"19, 683 Possibilities" and "Mile High Pie" push this even further. The latter is a throw up of the good ol' American family out in the wilderness with floating pancakes and other food. The former, like the "Match Up Games," looks like an antique children's toy. In comparison, her collages appear as springboards into her assemblages.

Strut Magazine September 2006 cover

Early Spring Scene

Strut Magazine, September 2006

On Teresa Petersen's drive to her studio in the Pioneer Building on East Grand Boulevard, she is always on the lookout for interesting junk left on the curb that she can incorporate into her artworks.

After graduating from Michigan State University in 1990 with a dual degree in biology and art, she worked as both a scientific illustrator and a fine artist. She received her master's in fine arts degree from Wayne State University in 1998, and lives in Detroit.

Although Petersen originally worked in painting and illustration, she quickly became interested in collage and assemblage, and now mainly focuses on those media. The objects she uses in her artwork hail from many sources: thrift stores, auctions, hardware stores and the curb on trash day. These places supply her with an interesting and all but limitless assortment of materials.

Petersen's artwork explores women's place in society, past and present, and the repetition and idealization of women's roles. Intertwined among these ideas are themes of nature, mass consumption and re-use, and the exploration of these ideas within modern society.


Intergenerational Show @ Ellen Kayrod Gallery, July 6, 2006 by Nick Sousanis

[Teresa Petersen's] assemblages - a mix of old fashion illustrations, science texts, and wildlife imagery - seem to be growing in complexity with every showing. It's certain these are all variations on a single theme. A Teresa Petersen is instantly recognizable. Yet this chosen realm has allowed her to really explore and play within it, and she most certainly has. She's building three dimensional scenes, many of the pieces have greater, and more significant means of interaction - they move and the movement is not just novelty, but enhances the possibilities within the art. Even if you've seen a number of her works, it's always exciting to see what she will come up with next.

Drooling at Food Through the Window of Art

Lansing City Pulse, January 25, 2006 by Mary Catherine Cusack
Article on Scene Metrospace Gallery, East Lansing, MI

An article about the "Feast Your Eyes" show at Scene Metrospace, including pictures of Teresa's work.

Metro Times cover illustration

Austen Power: Why the mother of all chick lit is a genius

The Metro Times, November 23, 2005
Cover image!

Illustrations for an article on Pride and Prejudice, including the cover illustration.


Checkerboard artwork

Metro Times 25th Anniversary Supplement

The Metro Times, October 19, 2005

The Metro Times invited a select group of local artists to contribute to a special supplement in its 25th anniversary issue. The link is to a rather large (7 Mb) Adobe Acrobat pdf file containing works by all of the artists.


Teresa Petersen @ District Arts, April 29, 2005 by Nick Sousanis
Excerpt of an extensive review of Teresa's show at the District Arts Gallery

...You could think of [Teresa's work] as "garage sale art" - an act of thrift or recycling - but even if all the materials only cost a quarter, this should by no means devalue the work.... Consider Petersen a visual "DJ," mixing together science text illustrations and fashion ads from past eras instead of 45s. And while collage as an art form isn't terribly tricky to pull off, doing it well is. Petersen not only does it very well, she manifests a recognizable, identifiable identity all her own grooving on a theme of a woman's identity and the natural world in an environment of consumerism.

...The merger of objects and imagery is by no means haphazard as collage can be, but makes for some quite inspired and novel objects.... Petersen has taken a pre-digital alarm clock radio (where the numbers are on rolodex-like cards that flip odometer-esque) and meticulously attached her cutout images to each card's face. The viewer is allowed to turn the clock dial flipping through countless combinations of images and create one's own meaning in their juxtaposition. A bra ad next to picture of a mixing bowl, two pert, smartly dressed lasses next to cuddly kittens - meaning is not implied but inferred from what the viewer brings to it.

...This is a cohesive body of work, yet one that allows for seemingly endless exploration - a truly fertile field for artist and viewer to play with together. Through images of the past, Petersen comments on the future and offers a joyful experience in doing so.

April 2005 Strut cover

Landscape Painter

Strut Magazine, April 2005

On Teresa Petersen's drive to her studio in the Pioneer Building on East Grand Boulevard, she is always on the lookout for interesting junk left on the curb that she can incorporate into her artworks.

After graduating from Michigan State University in 1990 with a dual degree in biology and art, she worked as both a scientific illustrator and a fine artist. She received her master's in fine arts degree from Wayne State University in 1998, and lives in Detroit.

Although Petersen originally worked in painting and illustration, she quickly became interested in collage and assemblage, and now mainly focuses on those media. The objects she uses in her artwork hail from many sources: thrift stores, auctions, hardware stores and the curb on trash day. These places supply her with an interesting and all but limitless assortment of materials.

Petersen's artwork explores women's place in society, past and present, and the repetition and idealization of women's roles. Intertwined among these ideas are themes of nature, mass consumption and re-use, and the exploration of these ideas within modern society.


In the Artist's Words

Pioneer Press, October 28, 2004
In conjunction with the show "On another Good Day" at Street Level Gallery, The Pioneer Press published Teresa's artist statement:

In my art I explore the historical interrelationships between women, mythology, and nature, as well as forces that govern our lives: time, culture, family, fate, chance, cycles, and divine powers. The background images for my artworks are cut from mass-produced, outdoor scenes, paint-by-number paintings, or other found artworks. These show an idealized natural world of groomed trails, picturesque mountains, woodlands or streams. I layer these scenes with figures and objects cut from older popular magazines, catalogs and other publications, which show social ideals of beauty, material wealth, and gender stereotypes still prevalent today. The collage "Following the Map" is a work on several levels. It can simply be a work about trying to reach a goal or a place, or a happy ending, and the wish for a good map when we are lost. It also comments on how, even when we try to follow societies' roles and expectations, our lives sometimes take surprising detours due to forces bigger than ourselves.

Creativity can emerge from unusual items

Lansing State Journal, April 29, 2004 by Mike Hughes
Review of Scene Metrospace Gallery's opening show, East Lansing, MI

[Teresa Petersen is] one of the young artists whose work is at the new Scene Metrospace in East Lansing. She often uses "found art"; the key steps include the finding and the taking.

"Sometimes, people in Detroit think that old is bad, so they'll throw things out," she said. "I'll pull over and pitch something into my truck...."

One of her pieces has a well-coiffed housewife serving dinner to all the woods creatures. "She does things that comment on the images of women in the '40s and '50s," said Leslie Donaldson, the Metrospace coordinator.

Lansing Pulse cover, April 2004

Scene Metrospace: A new Art Culture in East Lansing

Lansing City Pulse, April 28, 2004 by Amanda Tigner
Article on Scene Metrospace Gallery, East Lansing, MI

The article includes pictures of Teresa's work exhibited at Scene Metrospace.



On the Edge

Real Detroit Weekly, August 20, 2003 by Natalie Haddad
Review of "The Edge of the Woods" at River's Edge Gallery, Wyandotte, MI

[T]he works of Petersen are teeming with activity. Her materials -- including clocks, birdcages, furniture, outdated magazines and hotel paintings -- are the relics in everybody's attic, re-presented as a subtly subversive iconography.

The compositional activity is underscored by the physicality of the pieces, raised off the wall and animated with blazing colors or inner lights. They're interactive characters, waiting to come alive like Petersen's own Pinocchios. Only this time they're girls, and they're just posing in the kitchen (as in the comic "Apron + Jello").

...Behind the feminist exterior of Petersen's pieces is an implicit reification of feminine tropes. There's a makeshift aesthetic that characterizes nearly all found-object artworks, but the meticulous re- construction of Petersen's objects suggests something more intimate. "Walking Through a Place of Plenty" is a paint-by-numbers landscape -- trees, creek and little red barn -- augmented by butterflies, frosty cakes, designer shoes and a sleek, young thing in a burgundy slipdress. Though it comments immediately on women's conflicting, imposed social roles, the obvious post-script condemning those roles never fully emerges. The sheer variety of the shoes, scattered like fruits from a Prada tree, overwhelms the landscape. Organic and manufactured symbols are therefore integrated into a fantasy girls' land, at once wide-eyed and worldly.

The ideology of Petersen's "Lady Patter" is more cryptic. A small wooden cupboard, white with residual paint, makes a frame for a hierarchy of symbols. Here, the use of found objects instigates an express relationship between antiquated stereotypes and antiquated materials. Petersen's canvas is a geometric beehive of chartreuse circles on a vintage game board, with random circles replaced by backlit illustrations of women's faces and legs. The images read like an encoded narrative of women's roles. There's also the mystical quality of a story being glimpsed that recalls Marcel Duchamp's "Etant Donnes." In place of the raped muse, however, is a modern muse, and stereotypes are redefined as a game of forged identity.

Alive by Five

The Metro Times, October 23, 2002 by George Tysh
Review of "Harvest Gold" at Detroit Contemporary, Detroit, MI

...Another example of that potentially facile (and often boring) trend in Motor City installation art - the accumulation of old stuff - actually makes the idea work for a change. Jeanne Bieri and Teresa Petersen just shock the monkey with Harvest Gold (pictured), a whole apartment's worth of antique detritus and desiderata juxtaposed with their own paintings, drawings, constructions, etc. The key to their success is precisely at this personal level of investment. Otherwise, what could have gone no further than an Edward Kienholz-Mike Kelley sandwich becomes a touching encounter between past and present, surrealism and naturalism, the poetic and the achingly mundane.

Transforming Landscapes Through Art, October 2002 by Nick Sousanis
Review of "Harvest Gold" at Detroit Contemporary, Detroit, MI

...Jeanne Bieri and Teresa Petersen have created through their painting, installations, and found furniture a slice of Americana. The two established artists have applied their craft to making this a replica of American living. By recycling the furniture and furnishings to create their installation they combat the rampant consumerism that is our culture. Simultaneously they demonstrate that vitality can be returned to what has been abandoned, if only we utilize our creativity. Viewers are asked to take some of the furnishings home with them to continue the spread of revitilization.

Besides the spirit, the artwork at Otherwise is good, too

Lansing City Pulse, September 18, 2002 by Nancy McRay
Review of show at Otherwise Gallery, Lansing MI

...[Teresa Petersen] contributed two intriguing collages - images of women from perhaps the 1940s or early '50s. One, called "Waterfall," presents a series of women in white lingerie, in a tumbling composition that takes the shape of a waterfall. This piece addresses the women=nature=beauty problem, by presenting women as objects of beauty, they become dehumanized and idealized at the same time.

Fine art joins dining art

The Suburban Chicago News Sun, Saturday/Sunday, April 13-14, 2002 by Long Hwa-shu
Review of Grand Opening Show at Street Level Gallery, Highwood IL

...Although all [the works] are contemporary, one thing seems to stand out. With the use of mixed media including cutouts from books and magazines, some of the works appear to be trying to elicit thoughts and conversation from viewers.

Take an assemblage by Teresa Petersen, a Detroit artist, for instance. She used a painting of a landscape as background and added cutouts of women in swimming suits and placed them underneath the trees as if they were having an outing. Up above there are cutouts of butterflies.

It makes the painting come alive and provokes viewers to talk about it and decide for themselves what the women are up to.

'Sextet' weaves together work of six artists

Flint Journal, September 20, 2001 by Christopher R. Young
Review of "Sextet" at Buckham Gallery, Flint MI

['Sextet'] is a musical term for a group of six vocalists or musicians playing together. Though this exhibit involves six seperate artists, the artists' works look surprisingly well together. There is a peculiar rhythmic harmony generated between the participants.

...Detroit-based artist Teresa Petersen presents six assemblages involving well-worn and time-honored found objects that evoke sentiments of nostalgia. Petersen selectively has recycled refuse culled from thrift stores and popular period magazines to call attention to the familiar and alter our perception.

For example, "Butterfly Box" hints at a specimen collection with its centerpiece being a 1950s illustration of a woman in a pink summer dress. Several of her pieces are lit from the inside, possibly suggesting that inanimate objects have an inner life.

Lost and Found

Dialogue Magazine, September/October 2000 by Jeanette Wenig Drake
Review of "Lost and Found" at the Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor MI

...Susan Bartman and Teresa Petersen...use a repetative manipulation of simple everyday objects in works that achieve an odd splendor in spite of themselves. [These are artists] featured in "Lost and Found" who work with recycled materials and play upon concepts of use, refuse, trash and beauty to force economic, social, and cultural issues to the surface. This is the kind of exhibition that attracts everyone. They come, they gawk, they laugh and they scratch their heads a bit.

At Art Center, refuse offers a refuge for creativity

Ann Arbor News, July 15, 2000 by John Carlos Cantu
Review of "Lost and Found" at the Ann Arbor Art Center, Ann Arbor MI

Looking for beauty in all the wrong places. That's the approach taken by the six artists whose work is on display in the Ann Arbor Art Center's clever exhibit "Lost and Found: Artists Who Work with Recycled Materials."

...[Teresa] Petersen's "Four Steps to Perfection" is a kitchy assemblage bean-bag toy that fuses a a stove-top grill and wooden frame to four flipper panels featuring a wholesome, yet also knowing high-school ingenue. On top of this, Petersen's bean-bags also are stenciled with cliches that every such ingenue should have committed to heart.

Junk a Jewel

Saginaw News, January 16, 1999 by Darlene B. Damp
Review of "Short Stories from the Parlor" at Northwood University, Midland MI

By day, Teresa Petersen draws creatures for the University of Michigan Museum in Ann Arbor. Come quitting time, the biological illustrator sorts through piles of junk and old magazines that have overtaken her studio to create the assemblages and collages now on display at Northwood Gallery.

Called "Short Stories from the Parlor," the exhibition explores today's mixed messages with her own brand of humor.

...Her humerous collages play with those idealized concepts, using dreamy landscapes and cut-outs from catalogs and magazines of the 1950s and '60s.

There's "Nature's Reflection" with its perfecly coiffed women--and even young girls--from underwear ads enjoying a day at the lake, complete with a waterfall, and "Balancing," where a trio of women ride bareback horses while carrying a load of household goods on their shoulders.

'Un-Defining' goes after innovation

Detroit News, June 25, 1998 by Joy Hakanson Colby
Review of "Undefining Sculpture" at the Detroit Artist's Market, Detroit MI

Is the art-going public sufficiently challenged in Metro Detroit?

Providing more challenge was the aim of the 1997-98 season at the Detroit Artists Market, which mounted a series of exhibits offering nontraditional approaches to various art disciplines. The idea was to stir viewers up a bit, nudge us off dead-center, give us something different to think about.

Un-Defining ... Sculpture, the last exhibit in the series, is challenging, but not uncomfortably so for most people. Like its predecessors, it contains assorted rewards and irritations as well as some lively reflections on our times.

...Teresa Petersen crowned her assemblage of paint-peeled wood, rusted metal parts and a light bulb with a tree branch that bursts out in several directions.

Six artists 'move' into Buckham for January

Flint Journal, January 1998 by Jan Worth
Review of "In, Through, and Out," at Buckham Gallery, Flint MI

In the latest Buckham Gallery exhibit, titled, "In, Through, and Out," six artists explore what it means to move in, through, and out of the majority culture in which they do not necessarily feel at home.

...Sculptor Teresa Petersen of Ypsilanti recycles discarded household objects, then adds light and color to comment on the relationships of women to the consumer culture. One, "Abandoned House," seems to be a doghouse, but inside is a toy stove, a framed sepia family tableau, a frying pan hung on the wall and a bleak bare electric lightbulb dangling from the ceiling.

Her whimsical "Sewing Machine" sports ancient lace and organdy applied to ancient pieces of rusted metal, painted doors and drawer pulls. A woman bowler tops another piece, "Trajan's Column," and below her pedestal is a complicated totem pole of iron curlicues, toy wheels and hammered metal decoratove leaves.

Selected public responses to Teresa Petersen's artwork:

Reaction to "Recent Works," Huntsville Alabama, 2001
Nika B.: Fantastic iconoclasm. Images speak volumes on 50s ideals that sadly still apply to the current day.
Leslie C.: You know how sometimes a clear view of reality appears and you can't help laughing?
W. M.: What a fun collection! Closer inspection was entertaining and thought-provoking.
Ruthie W.: Really enjoyed the display--great way to put all the old paint-by-numbers landscapes to good use--very creative!
Jerry M.: This exhibit is extraordinarily witty and thought-provoking.
Anonymous: This exhibit is wonderful. It is a credit to our lovely school.
Bruce H.: Great work. I absolutely love "Nature Scene." It made me chuckle. I think I know women like that. Great composition. I will see things in a new perspective.