Anika Steppe (1991) completed her BS in Photography at Ithaca College in 2013 and received her MFA in Studio Art at University of Texas at Austin in 2018. She lives and works in Chicago, IL.

The work is quiet, disarmingly so. Mostly small in size, her vistas big (night sky) and small (quilted cosmos) seem closer to the private images we live with: those we make because something made us laugh or pause, those others make and we only hazily remember, claiming some part as our own. This initial familiarity seduces. But with even a glance, Steppe’s photographs begin to wriggle and worm. 

Insisting on the contingency of her subjects—slippery, multiple—Steppe ultimately offers up the stubborn misrecognitions and often joyous incommensurability of a self trying to self. 

Steppe explores the medium’s capacity to mediate, not the world as such, but our ever-shifting relationship to it. These photographs do not “capture” places, “arrest” moments; rather, I am the one apprehended, seen, caught amid framings of her and my own creation. This is the work’s great gift. Steppe brings us to the photograph’s edge. A limit, but a false one, delineating an absence we can’t help but fill. It’s boundlessness, and our own, on the line.

—excerpts by Francesca Balboni, on series "A Matter of Relationships" from Affordable Dream House exhibition catalog

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