Ellen Carey (b.1952 USA) is an educator, independent scholar, guest curator, photographer and lens-based artist, whose experimental work spans over three decades (1976–2015). Most notable is her pioneering discovery of her minimal and abstract Pull in 1996, with its signature black conical loop, followed by her Rollback (1997), both created using the large format Polaorid 20 X 24 camera, one of five in the world (www.20x24studio.com); she also creates site-specific installations. Photography Degree Zero names her Polaroid practice (1996–2014) while Struck by Light (1992–2015) finds the camera-less photogram; her scholarship in research/writing as Pictus & Writ (2008–2015). Her work has been the subject of 50 one-person exhibitions in museums, alternative spaces, galleries (1978–2015), highlights include: The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Matrix#153); Real Art Ways; Lyman Allyn Art Museum; Saint Joseph University, ICP/NY and presented in hundreds of group exhibits (1974–2017): museums (Smithsonian); alternative spaces (Hallwalls); galleries (Perrotin) and non-profit (Aperture). An extensive bibliography includes reviews/essays/articles; brochures/catalogues/books; grants—NEA, CAPS, Polaroid—interviews TV (Nutmeg); radio (WNPR); video (Aperture); documentary Pulls and Mourning Wall; upcoming in Dear Dave (magazine)-Bill Armstrong; Inside the Artist’s Studio (book)-Joe Fig; Camera Ready (film)-John Reuter, Director, 20 X 24 Studio.
Recent Solo: Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey, Akus Gallery*, Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU), Roxanne DeoJay, Director; Photography Degree Zero, Joseph Bellows; Struck by Light, Nina Freudenheim; Self-Portraits from 1987, LeWitt Gallery/UConn. Recent Group: Part-Picture, Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art (MoCCA)*, Chris Wiley, US Curator, Toronto, CAN; Altarations: Blended, Mixed, Process, Florida Atlantic University (FAU)*, W. Rod Faulds, Director, Boca Raton, FL; Moderm Alchemy: Experiments in Photography, Heckscher Museum+, Lisa Chalif, Curator, Huntington, LI, NY; CHEM 101: The Beauty & Science of Photography, Benton Museum, Nancy Stula, Director, UCONN Storrs, CT; Momentum, San Jose Museum, CA; The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation, Francis Lehman Loeb Art Center@Vassar College**-Mary-Kay Lombino, Curator-tour:Norton Museum of Art; A Democracy of Images: Photographs from The Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM)-Merry Foresta, Curator; Focus: Photography at NBMAA-Douglas Highland, Director; Wish You Were Here: The Buffalo Avant-Garde in the 1970s, Albright-Knox Art Gallery(AKAG)*-Heather Peasanti, Curator; (2012–15); catalogue*book**brochure+.The Polaroid Project, Foundation for Exhibiting Photography (FEP) with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)** exhibition/book/tour, multiple curators, Switzerland-2017.
Her work is in the permanent collections of over 20 photograph and art museums: The Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AKAG), Museum at the Chicago Art Institute, Fogg Museum at Harvard University, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM), 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. Books as Color: Amercian Photography Transformed (UTexas Press), John Rohrbach, Senior Curator, Amon Carter Museum of American Art; The Innocent Eye, Patricia Rosoff (Tupelo Press); 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), exhibit/tour/book (2009–13) he states:
“Ellen Carey is among this country's most committed experimental photographers."
In the tradition of writing on artists, by an artist, Carey names Pictus & Writ her practice. Color Me Real for Sol LeWitt: 100 Views, his MASS MoCA 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 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, Dr. Mason Klein, Curator and Under the Surface: Surrealist Photography, Bowdoin College Musuem of Art, Andrea Rosen, Curator. Online: The Smithsonian (www.smithsonian.org); KCAI Alumni News. Print: Carey interview by Krystian von Speidel in VENU magazine as Man in the Mirror; essay in At Play with Man Ray (Aperture #204); Google: Man Ray Discovery/Ellen Carey. In Hamlet’s Shadow in The Polaroid Years: Instant Photography and Experimentation publishes Carey’s third essay (Prestel Books). In development: Anna Atkins (1799–1871) as first woman photographer (camera-less), first to practice color (cyanotype). Carey notes an absence of color, women and their collective contributions; Women of Colour: Anna Atkins, Color Photography and Those Struck by Light names her project. Man Ray:ongoing/new discovery; Robert Motherwell’s Painted Polaroids: recent.
Published essays: Donna Fleischer/Poet (2014) The Black Swans of Ellen Carey: On Necessary Poetic Realities; Lyle Rexer/Critic 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. Ellen Carey: From Matrix to Monumental by the late Ben Lifson/Writer, (2009); Alden Gordon/Professor, Trinity College (2008): Drawing with Light, Painting with Emulsion: Ellen Carey’s ‘Pulls’ and ‘Penlights’; unpublished.
Ellen Carey is Associate Professor, Hartford Art School-University of Hartford(www.hartfordartschool.org) awarded Coffin Grant (1990 & 1991); Bent Award for Creativity (1990); four sabbaticals (1992, 2001, 2008, 2015) also taught at Bard College (1995); Loughborough University, UK (1999); ICP/NY (1981–83); Queens College (1980). SPE panel w/Lyle Rexer (2002) on abstraction; lecture/panel as Back to the Future: The Avant-Garde Is an Address for Wish…exhibit at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AKAG) and Is Photography Art? for HAS Inc. at UH; she has given over a hundred lectures on her work and the work of others (1978–2015).
Her MFA-Photography degree (1976–78) from The 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 at The Arts Student’s League (1970). Carey lived in New York (1979–1995), where she was born (1952), first exhibiting (1979) in The Altered Image (PS 1). Her Polaroid Pulls on www.20X24studio.com; artworks on www.ellencarey.net (being updated); www.aperture.org; Jayne H. Baum Gallery (NY, NY) email@example.com; Nina Freudenheim Gallery (Buffalo, NY) firstname.lastname@example.org; or contacting email@example.com. for lectures/visiting artist. Google for Man Ray Discovery/Ellen Carey. She currently lives and works in Connecticut and New York.