The Concussion Diaries Terri Riendeau

January 10 - June 8

“I suffered a serious concussion in April 2017. Alice fell down a rabbit hole; I just fell on the floor. The doctors forbade ‘reading, screens of any sort, and complex thinking.’ For the first four months I couldn’t even listen to music. I wondered if I might go bonkers – and then I wondered if that was complex thinking. Without the capacity for the usual distractions, I found myself in a quiet world of color and composition. In some ways my sensory experience was stripped down, but in other ways it was heightened. On the daily walks required for my recovery, I noticed every detail of spring in New Jersey – leaves unfurling, vines encircling, the patterns in moss – with a piercing intensity.

At the suggestion of a friend I started painting. I had spent a lifetime deeply engaged by twentieth-century American artists and poets. My icons were the two Helens of New York, Frankenthaler and Levitt, and the poets Robert Hass and John Ashbery. At various points my artistic energy went into making photography, writing poetry and weaving, but I had always considered painting off limits. The concussion eliminated my silly, self-imposed restraints, and painting turned the disaster into discovery.

My limited faculties when I started painting freed me from spending any time thinking about why I was painting and what I was trying to say with my work. Two of my paintings, Charlottesville and Categoría Cinco (Maria) are direct responses to current events, but the others are explorations of technique, color and form. Asking myself now about the why and the what, I am reminded of a talk I went to by the photographers Laura McPhee and Virginia Beahan. In response to a student who asked about pursuing a career in art, one of them said, ‘If you don’t need to make photographs, you won’t.’ I am still finding my way as a painter, but I can say for certain that I need to make paintings.”

-Terri Riendeau

More Exhibitions

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For four or five years, I have been documenting the Princeton community. I have roamed the streets looking for scenes of daily life, and have gone to many special events. Most of the events pictured in this show were presented by the Arts Council! Among the events included in this show are the Halloween Parade, the Bollywood festival, and the Day of the Dead, as well as demonstrations in support of immigrant rights and the need to protect our environment. My hope is that this

Taking Pause

Video courtesy of the Princeton University Humanities Council    Taking Pause is a documentary portrait project created by ACP Artist-in-Residence Robin Resch that asks people to reflect on what in their lives feels most essential. The project is on view in Princeton’s Dohm Alley from April-October 2021.   With what do we identify and connect most deeply? What truly matters to us, and why?      This series seeks to create telling portraits of people through what is deeply meaningful to them. To make these

Constant Repeating Themes

  As a photographer, the themes of urban landscape and man’s impact on the environment have long intrigued me both artistically and intellectually. I witness this in constructions as simple as building façades in a strip mall to the deserted athletic fields in parks and playgrounds.    Through my viewfinder I seek to contrast and compare the interactions of natural and man-made elements. I tend to seek out landscapes that speak to a certain stillness. In the buildings and structures that I photograph, I emphasize

Donor Wheel

More than 2,000 donors are acknowledged in this one-of-a-kind sculpture by Joshua Kirsch

Neighborhood Portrait

The Neighborhood Portrait Quilt is part of a permanent exhibition that tells a story of important leaders and residents.