Ellen Carey : Mirrors of chance 7/09 - 20/10/2018
Mirrors of chance, la photographie expérimentale is a solo exhibition by the American experimental photographer that highlights Carey’s investigation into minimalism and abstraction in photograms, under her darkroom practice Struck by Light (1992-2018).
Carey is highly regarded for her work that digs deeper into color’s mother lode in new and experimental ways. Color is subject and object, material with meaning, process within the art. This gives her work context vis-à-vis the field of color photography, a rich area in scholarship relatively “under-exposed” to borrow a photographic term.
“How is this picture made?” and “What is this a picture of?” are questions often asked about Ellen Carey’s work. They address photography as process and the conundrum of an image without a picture ‘sign’ to read, as seen in the photographic landscape, portrait or still life. Furthermore, light’s immateriality challenges its makers today, analog versus digital, and doubles our challenges. To the question “What is a 21st century photograph?” Carey’s answer is to partner 19th century photogram with 21th century color technology. To “What do these two have in common?” and “Where do they overlap?”, she answers with the Zerogram, Carey’s newest photogram-as-object, seen for the first time at Galerie Miranda. The Zerogram is also a conceptual and physical link to Ellen Carey’s artistic Polaroid practice in Photography Degree Zero (1996-2018), referencing Roland Barthes’ Writing Degree Zero. The exhibition’s title Mirrors of Chance is also a limited-edition book of 200, published by The Amon Carter Museum of American Art (Fort Worth, Texas) in tandem with her current solo exhibition Ellen Carey : Dings, Shadows and Pulls.
Ellen Carey (b. 1952, USA) has been featured many times at Paris PHOTO by M+B, her Los Angeles gallery, and she featured in last year’s group exhibition PhotoPlay: Lucid Objects by Mark S. Roe, Curator for the JP Morgan Chase Collection and Paris PHOTO sponsor. The Centre Pompidou highlighted Carey’s work in a group exhibition The Unbearable Lightness - The 1980s - Photography, Film (2016) curated by Karolina Lewandowska, presenting several of Carey’s Self-Portraits (1983- 1988), her first color images in the large format Polaroid 20 X 24, using multiple exposures depicting patterns of Neo-Geo, psychedelic designs, super-imposed and cascading over her head and shoulders. This back-to-the future gestalt delivered bright colors and a seamless composition noted for her prescient ideas that pointed to the-now digital future. These self-portraits add to the history of the “self” in photography and to women photographers’ place in that history, while enlarging and encompassing the “self” as a different kind of “other” (see artist statement). Ellen, her Irish Catholic name, in Gaelic/Celtic means ‘bringer of light’ while photography is drawing with light, a vintage phrase used by its earliest practitioners, both phrase and photogram continues today.