Anne Vetter showcases collection at Priebe


Courtesy of Anne Vetter – The piece “Pond Games” features Vetter’s mom and is an important piece to them.

Nolan Swenson, Co-Sports Editor

Artist Anne Vetter presented their work for an art exhibit at the UW Oshkosh Priebe Gallery named “Love is not the last room,” which will be showcased until March 16.

The collection centers on Vetter’s perception of their ethnicity, gender and queerness. Vetter does this through the lens of intimacy within family during leisure and play. Vetter said that even if viewers don’t understand the deeper meanings, it’s still a beautiful gallery.

“I hope the photos stand alone as strong images,” they said. “On the surface, it’s about family, intimacy, leisure and play. When you learn more about gender, Jewishness, queerness, you understand. If you don’t get the context, you can still know you looked at something beautiful that made you feel something.”

Vetter’s work on the collection began in 2019 and was a four-year process, continuing throughout the pandemic. Due to the home intimacy of their work, Vetter said they were lucky compared to other artists due to their work being shot at  their home and quarantining with their subjects.

They said that they’ve come out of the four-year shooting experience more confident in their art and gender identity.

Courtesy of Anne Vetter / Anne Vetter’s exhibit, “Love is not the last room’ centers on their perception of their ethnicity, gender and queerness through photos of family during leisure and play.

“I’m much more confident now — I have a lot more of a certain visual voice when it comes to the work,” they said. “I’ve just become more confident, even as a child I knew I was not one way or another, and I went to school pretending I was just a woman. By the time I got to college, I realized I was genderfluid/nonbinary. I think I’ve changed for the better, I’d like to say.”

Through their work process Vetter attempted to form the themes in an organic manner, not attempting to push out preconceived ideas.

“I didn’t force myself to analyze the work; I was just making photos,” they said. “As I continued to shoot over the past few years, I allowed myself to think about and explore different themes; but I don’t try to push them in the photographs, I just let them appear organically. It’s an organic process, responding to my family, myself and light.”

One of the instances of family in their work is a piece where Vetter used a picture of their brother in comparison with them. They said that the work utilizes their brother as a stand-in to project their masculine side.

“‘Self Portrait as my Brother Douglass’ is one of the more explicit pieces,” they said. “I hoped that it would attune people to gender, as my little brother and I are practically identical except for his mustache. The piece is an interesting conversation on the bond that siblings share whether it’s genetic or compassion. The fact that Douglass let go of himself and became me for work is such an incredible gift.”

Two other pieces they said they are proud of are “Douglas and Dad Wrestling in the Bay” and “Pond Games,” both of which heavily feature intimacy of contact in the family setting.

“I grew up in a very touchy and wrestling family,” they said. “That photo [of my brother and dad] is a great exploration of using fighting to connect. In the same vein, I love the photo of my mom and I called ‘Pond Games’ of her floating in the water. I’d say that those are important pieces.”

Although they have their own explanations for the art, Vetter said that they can’t control how people will take or interpret their art and that viewers can make what they want of it.

“I leave it up for interpretation; everyone has their favorite or the one they find the most interesting,” they said. “It’s my work, but I have to let go of control — it’s out there in the world and people are going to read it how they read it.”

Vetter said that, in reflection, this experience has been positive and that they’re proud of everything they’ve accomplished. 

“I feel really proud of my work; I feel proud that I did it and knowing how much work went into it and how much work my family put into it as well,” they said. “It was the first time since 2017 that I went to see my work in a show. Usually it’s too far to go somewhere for one night. It’s also my first solo show, so standing in the room and seeing the work felt very successful, this gives the feeling that I hoped it would.”

Vetter said that they are happy with the work they’ve put out and are looking to the future. They are very excited for people to be able to see their work.

“Getting to talk about the work is amazing and it’s very exciting and it makes me hopeful for what is next,” Vetter said. “I appreciate when people go to the show and if anyone ever wants to chat about it or their own art or their work, I’ll always chat about it. I can’t promise I’ll be the most eloquent, but I’ll try.”