The manner in which heredity and environment shape us as people is a prominent theme in Zetterman’s art. In Stay (work in progress), she takes her point of departure in childhood memories, family photographs from the 1970s as well as in current observations, whereupon she reconstructs and re-enacts scenes from the past. She alternates between different modes of artistic expression - photography, moving images and objects - and the relationship between then and now is always present.
In When, Zetterman explores behavioral patterns, structures, obsessions and the origins and contours of identity. A study of three generations, Zetterman photographed part of the series in her grandmother’s home, her mother’s and her own, examining the things each woman collects and holds dear or leaves to decay.
In Ground Rules, she uses her former training as a track and field athlete as the backdrop to investigate issues of performance, control, motivation and regimentation. Here, as in When and much of Zetterman’s work, we see how the details of a discipline, a sport or a behavior, act as the grammar for a language to be studied and learned, taught and passed down to future generations – of athletes or daughters.
Equestrian culture, and the rites and rituals associated with it, is the focal point of her work Close (work in progress since 2001). In this culture, she finds an environment charged with issues of control, discipline and power, but also of love and trust. Close ups of parts of horses’ bodies express the feelings found in a moment of intimacy and contrast with the stern discipline of whips, reins, bites and other tools of behavioral restraint and modification.