by Deborah Walden
Williamson County artist Anne Goetze is showing off her versatility with Clothesline, a new series of photographs snapped in rural locales. Readers may know Goetze for her bold, impressionistic landscape paintings, but her intimate photographs offer a different perspective on her art. “I love things that are nostalgic,” she says, and the series certainly captures that feeling. Clothesline has been over ten years in the making. Goetze sold out a similar collection of photographs over a decade ago. The photographs offer exactly what their title implies: an array of clotheslines, hung with various garments and linens. She does not stage or premeditate any of these subjects. She simply captures images of clotheslines that enchant her. Goetze claims, “I see a worn-worn shirt, and I think, ‘Was that a father or a grandfather? What did they do for a living?”
Goetze believes that clotheslines chronicle the small details of everyday living. “It’s a way to observe something without intruding. It’s also telling someone else’s story. It’s about their life, but it doesn’t intrude.”
Goetze hopes that her series will help tell a larger story about rural America. In her paintings and her photographs, she celebrates nature and small-town traditions that are threatened by the march of progress. “I live in Williamson County, and I can see it change.” She hopes to shine a spotlight on the “people who are the salt of the earth” through her snapshots of farming communities and rural landscapes.
Through Clothesline, Goetze aims to connect the present and the past. She observes that clotheslines are returning to popularity because “people are conscious of being green.” In this way, the series of photographs relates to Goetze’s environmental cause. Speaking of clotheslines, she says, “This is something we should all be doing. It’s back to the past, but it’s back to the present, too.”
When asked how her painting and photography relate, she replies, “It all really goes together. It’s all part of the visual art form of how we see things.” Just like her paintings, Goetze says, her photos are “reactions to a feeling.” The artist, whose grandfather was a photographer, grew up around sepia prints in the hallways of her childhood home. She claimed her father’s old German camera as a teen and has mastered her craft over the years. Clothesline explores her romance with photography and her love for the rural South. In telling the stories of others through objects of their daily lives, Goetze ultimately tells us a lot about herself.
The Clothesline series will be on display at the Arts Company, located in downtown Nashville at 215 5th Avenue North, December 3–23. www.theartscompany.com