Ellen Carey (b.1952 USA) is an educator, independent scholar, guest curator, photographer and lens-based artist, whose experimental work uses the large-format Polaroid 20 X 24 camera to create her minimal/abstract "Pulls" and site-specific installations with a parallel darkroom practice in the camera-less photogram. "Photography Degree Zero" names her Polaroid practice (1996-2019) while "Struck by Light" (1992-2019) finds the photogram; her writing as "Pictus & Writ" (2008-2019).
Her work, the subject of 60 one-person exhibitions in museums, alternative spaces, galleries (1978-2020) highlights include: The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Matrix#153); Real Art Ways; Lyman Allyn Art Museum; Saint Joseph College, ICP/NY (mid-career survey) and in hundreds of group exhibits (1974-2014): museums (Smithsonian); alternative spaces (HallWalls); galleries (Emmanuel Perrotin) and non-profit (Aperture). An extensive bibliography includes reviews/essays/articles; brochures/catalogues/books; grant highlights-NEA, CAPS, Polaroid-interviews on TV (Nutmeg); radio (WNPR); video (Aperture); she has documentary videos "Pulls" and "Mourning Wall" to her credit.
Solo Exhibits: "Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey," Akus Gallery, Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU) catalogue; "Photography Degree Zero," Joseph Bellows; "Struck by Light," Nina Freudenheim; "Self-Portraits from 1987," Celeste LeWitt/UConn. Group Exhibits: "The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation," The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College-curator Mary-Kay Lombino (NY Times, Wall Street Journal), Prestel book w/Carey essay "In Hamlet's Shadow," tour: Norton Museum of Art; "A Democracy of Images: Photographs from The Smithsonian American Art Museum," SAAM curator Merry Foresta (Washington Post); "Focus: Photography at NBMAA."-curator Douglas Highland; "Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-Garde in the 1970s," Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AKAG) catalogue; curator-Heather Peasanti (NY Times); all 2012-14.
Her work is in the permanent collections of over 60 major photography/art museums, highlights: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AKAG), George Eastman House, Museum at the Chicago Art Institute, Fogg Museum at Harvard University, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Britain Museum of American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Whitney Museum of Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery; corporate: Banana Republic, Dow Jones; private: LeWitt Foundation, Linda Cheverton-Wick/Walter Wick, Nancy/Robinson Grover.
Book highlights: "Color: Amercian Photography Transformed" (UTexas Press) by John Rohrbach, curator, Amon Carter Museum of American Art; "The Polaroid Collections" (Taschen); "A Century of Colour: From the Autochrome to Digital" by V&A Museum curator, Pamela Roberts (Carlton Books, Ltd.); "The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography" by Lyle Rexer (Aperture Foundation), group exhibit/tour (2009-2013); he states: "Ellen Carey is among this country's most committed experimental photographers."
The tradition of writing on other artists, by an artist, names Carey's "Pictus & Writ" practice. "Color Me Real" for "Sol LeWitt: 100 Views," his MASS MoCA wall drawing retrospective, catalogue published by Yale University Press (2009). Her discovery of Man Ray's 'hidden' signature in his self-portrait photograph "Space Writings" (1935) finds her (750) second essay: "What's in a Frame? The 'Space Writings' of Man Ray" discovery cited in book "Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention" The Jewish Museum exhibition. Online: The Smithsonian (www.smithsonian.org); KCAI Alumni News. Print: Carey interview by Krystian von Speidel in VENU as "Man in the Mirror"; revised essay (250) as "At Play with Man Ray" in Aperture #204; (2011). Google: Man Ray Discovery/Ellen Carey for all. "In Hamlet's Shadow" as Prestel book "The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation" publishes Carey's third essay. In development is research on Anna Atkins (1799-1871); first woman photographer (camera-less) and first woman to practice color (cyanotype). Carey notes an absence of color/women and their collective historical/contemporary contributions. "Women of Color: Anna Atkins, Color Photography and Those Struck by Light" names her project.
Recent published essays by poet Donna Fleischer (2014) "The Black Swans of Ellen Carey: On Necessary Poetic Realities"; Lyle Rexer for Aperture book/exhibit/tour (2009-2013) "The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography" and "Photography's Antiquarian Avant-Garde: New Wave in Old Processes" book (Abrams), exhibit Morthland Gallery. Unpublished: "From Matrix to Monumental" by Ben Lifson, (2009); Alden Gordon, Trinity College (2008): "Drawing with Light, Painting with Emulsion: Ellen Carey's 'Pulls' and 'Penlights'."
Ellen Carey is Associate Professor/Photography (1991-2019), Hartford Art School (1983-1990)-University of Hartford. (www.hartfordartschool.org) awarded Coffin Grant (1990 & 1991); Bent Award for Creativity (1990); teaching at Bard College (1995); Loughborough University, UK (1999); ICP/NY (1981-83); Queens College (1980). SPE panel on abstraction w/Lyle Rexer (2002); "Back to the Future: The Avant-Garde Is an Address" lecture/AKAG panel Wishexhibit; Carey has given hundreds of lectures (1978-2019).
Her MFA degree (1976-78) in Photography-State University of New York at Buffalo (SUNY@Buffalo); art history-museum studies minor at The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AKAG); BFA degree (1971-75) from Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI); studied (1970) at Arts Student's League.
Carey lived in New York (1979-1995), where she was born (1952). After receiving her MFA and CAPS grant, she first exhibited at PS 1 in "The Altered Image." She lives/works in Hartford/New York; photograms and Polaroid 20 X 24 Studio for "Pulls." (www.20X24studio.com); www.ellencareyphotography.com; www.aperture.org; Google and Wikipedia.
Gallery representation: Jayne H. Baum Gallery (NY, NY) firstname.lastname@example.org or contacting email@example.com. (lecture/presentation/visiting artist). She was recently named one of the top 100 women photographers world-wide by the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) in their Hundred Heroines campaign in 2019; one of five top booths at Paris PHOTO that same year.