Teale Hatheway: Fragmented Realities

Sep 14, 2015

IMG_3349She recalls working at the Pasadena Playhouse and in the Cultural Affairs Department at Pasadena City Hall; she visits her parents just south of Pasadena City College in the home where she grew up.

Now Teale Hatheway calls home a small studio in the industrial area of Taylor Junction, just off Main Street near the train depot and San Antonio Winery. It’s a brutally hot day when we walk into her studio/home and the lights are off to help beat the heat. But the dimness can’t conceal the two massive paper cutouts that are attached to the wall.

Created out of photographer’s seamless paper, 19 feet wide by 10 feet high, one cutout is the Los Angeles County freeway system and the other is the mass of streets in downtown.

These humongous versions of a map will hang across the room at L. A. Art Association’s Gallery 825 for Teale’s solo exhibition “Fragmented Realities: City of Dreams,” which opens September 12 and runs through October 9.

Teale’s family are Angelinos through and through, their roots spreading back five generations. Perhaps that’s part of the reason she looks to history, and specifically to architecture, as much as she looks at the present.

Considering historical architectural elements, Teale says “I am interested in what makes something part of the now and why it’s significant being a part of now.”

One example of Teale’s “historical” works is The Eastern (ink, bleach, burning, acrylic, and metal leaf on linen, 48 x 36 inches)…

Teale Hatheway, "The Eastern." Ink, bleach, burning, acrylic, metal leaf on linen. 48" x 36"


For “Fragmented Realities: City of Dreams,” streetlamps will be hanging in between Teale’s maps, though they are ones of her making.

Seven foot high panels of translucent frosted plexiglass are the canvas for Teale’s streetlamp paintings. She’s sketched and painted streetlamps for some years and we learn there are over 300 different designs to be found throughout the different neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Teale’s culled elements from the various designs and using single-use stencils, paint, and gold leaf, she’s created her own abstract compositions—”It’s a puzzle for me.”






Teale is constantly, inevitably, drawn to the detail, craft, and beauty found in L. A.’s architecture, but, she says, they are often unseen, driven or walked by quickly. For her current installation, Teale has designed box benches with the desire that we slow down. Stop. Take a seat. Take a look. Reflect. Think. Appreciate. Enjoy.

A mock-up of “Fragmented Realities: City of Dreams”…






Image courtesy of the artist



Image courtesy of the artist


Growing up as Old Pasadena began to be revitalized, Teale assumed that preservation and restoration were the norm. She was surprised and incredulous when she stepped out into wider Los Angeles and learned this was not so. Her work tends to look to the historical, and bring it into the current light of day.

“The rest of the country, the rest of the world, sees L. A. as modern, doesn’t think L. A. has a history—nothing existed before the 1940s.”

But the history of L. A. is Teale’s family history, the two cannot be disentangled and she readily embraces this. Two elements “conceptually bookend” Teale’s thought process regarding her new work and exhibit—Harry Carr’s book Los Angeles: City of Dreams published in 1935 and the 2015 article in LA Magazine by Scott Timberg titled “Leaving Los Angeles.”




Harry Carr was a reporter, editor, and columnist for the L. A. Times who’s reputation “soared” after his detailed coverage of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Teale explains that City of Dreams illustrates the local history of the padres and rancheros, with gunfights and ladies washing clothes on rocks where the L. A. Times building currently stands. And on the other hand, jumping ahead 80 years, Timberg writes…

Some have remained, but many have left for jobs or reasonable rents they can’t find in L.A. For those of us who’ve stayed to continue the struggle, life here feels distinctly temporary. There are layers of significance in going to California and especially in moving to Los Angeles. But what’s the meaning of leaving? (“Leaving Los Angeles” by Scott Timberg/L. A. Magazine, July 2015)

Teale Hatheway loves it here in L. A. and also admits she gets really annoyed with it sometimes—maybe L. A. is not the be all, end all—but 5 generations of family ties has her deeply rooted…“to the point of absurdity.”

Here’s hoping Teale continues to embrace the absurdity and create her abstract works of art, keeping L. A.’s history alive for us who love it, who live here, and who are creating roots. We would do well to “listen” to her work—”slow down.” Look around. Look up. Look behind, even while looking ahead. Absorb. Appreciate. Enjoy.


Opening night reception

Opening night reception; photo, Kristine Schomaker


Fragmented Realities: City of Dreams
Solo Exhibition, Sept. 12 through October 9
LAAA/Gallery 825 at 825 N. La Cienega Blvd., L. A. 90069
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
For info, visit or


Opening night reception; photo, Kristine Schomaker

Opening night reception; photo, Kristine Schomaker





By Teale Hatheway


And, by the way, it’s L. A.’s 234th birthday.

…[O]n November 19, Governor Felipe de Neve informed Croix [his superior] that the founding of the pueblo had taken place under his command on Sept. 4, 1781. The selection of this date possibly was arbitrary, since September marked the month when the colony’s financial records were first recorded. Therefore, September 4 marked the official, if not the actual, date of the founding of El Pueblo de La Reina de Los Angeles. Contrary to another long-cherished myth, it took place without pomp or ceremony.

—(Excerpt from The Los Angeles Plaza: Sacred and Contested Space, 2008, by William David Estrada, curator of California and American history at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County; sourced from, article by Nathan Masters, 2011)


Interpreting L. A.'s historical architecture for the here and now; by Teale Hatheway

Painting by Teale Hatheway




Never been to the Brewery? It hosts wonderful art exhibits and events like the Lincoln Heights Brewery Artwalk (great food and craft beers at Barbara’s). The next ArtWalk is scheduled for October 3-4.










Source information:
Books by Harry Carr: Amazon



Image courtesy of the artist







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