Andrea Gardner was born in California and completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She later received a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from the University of Iowa. She has lived in numerous places including Montana, New York City, Rome, Italy and since 1995 has lived in Wanganui, New Zealand. She works primarily in photography and mixed media sculpture. She exhibits regularly throughout New Zealand and has work in the collections of The Dowse Art Museum, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the Sarjeant Gallery and the James Wallace Trust. Gardner’s work is an important part of the show quotidiænat La Porte Peinte, and was also shown in the LPP/CelerySpace co-produced show quotidiæn at CelerySpace in Berkeley, California in 2014.
Andrea Gardner works in the realm of staged photography. She creates diorama-like setups in her studio which consist of old paintings, artificial plants, taxidermied animals, soil, insects and people. Her staged tableaus show an ongoing interest in romantic interpretations of the landscape and a revising of what is considered “picturesque”. Through blending the real with the unreal the photographs contemplate romanticism in relation to 21st century environmental concerns, our complex relationship with nature and animals, and the ever-growing presence or infiltration of man-made elements in our environment. Her work explores the tension between domesticity and nature, artifice and reality, the familiar and the unexpected. Art history and fairy tales also inform her practice.