Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent photographs by Roe Ethridge.
The diverse and sometimes abstruse nature of Ethridge’s imagery — vintage movie posters, fashion models, a pink rose, a mop bucket, a concrete mixer — originates from his direct experience of the world, which oscillates between the spontaneous and the staged with such subtlety that it is often difficult to ascertain his elected approach with regard to individual images. His oeuvre melds conceptual photography with commercial work, including out-takes from his own shoots and borrowed images already in circulation in other contexts. With this democratic attitude, Ethridge works to capture the vivid and intimate details of his shifting locales within photography’s classic genres of portrait, landscape, and still life.
In this exhibition, he juxtaposes polished photographs of posed models, such as Marloes Horst (2010) and Louise (2011), with gritty still lifes of ashtrays (Butts 1, Butts 2, and Butts 3, 2010) and the grainy pages of a newspaper (Plane Crash at Sea, 2004-2011). Stairs 11 (2008), Concrete Pour 3 (2007), and Curtain Wall 10 (2010) are from a recent project commissioned by Goldman Sachs that documents the construction of the company’s new headquarters over a six-year period. Setting up a dialogue between the improvised and the premeditated, between autonomous and commissioned images, Ethridge creates an alternating flow of content and form. The title “Le Luxe,” which he has used to title a previous exhibition and a recent monograph, is inspired by the paradoxical French phrase that alludes to the superfluity of luxury while insisting on its necessity. It is also a direct reference to Henri Matisse’s masterpieces of the same name from 1907 and 1913.
In his ongoing exploration of picture-making, Ethridge disavows the potential for creating a finished work. Constructing perceivable gaps between subjects, he invites speculation on what has been omitted in terms of imagining an uninterrupted stream of sequential images. He edits the imagery strategically, setting up complex relationships between genres, yet keeping their precise significance undefined. Drawing upon photography’s descriptive power and its accessibility, he copies and re-combines images, subverting their original status in order to regenerate their signifying possibilities, and in so doing, infuse them with a new sense of mysterious contingency.
Roe Ethridge was born in 1969 in Miami and received a BFA in Photography at The College of Art in Atlanta, GA. His work has been shown extensively in the United States and internationally, including: Greater New York, MOMA/PS1 (2000), The Americans, Barbican Center, London (2001), Hello My Name Is…, Carnegie Museum of Art (2002), Momentum 4: Roe Ethridge, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2005), The Whitney Biennial (2008), New Photography 2010: Roe Ethridge, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010), and Les Recontres D’Arles, France (2011).
Roe Ethridge and Antwaun Sargent
From his early work for magazines in the 1990s to recent projects with the designer Telfar Clemens, Roe Ethridge has consistently challenged the distinctions between commercial and conceptual photography that long defined the medium. Antwaun Sargent recently caught up with him to discuss the moment that confirmed the artist’s understanding of the photographic image’s potential for boundary-hopping ubiquity in the contemporary era.
Twelve Tracks: Roe Ethridge
Roe Ethridge shares the transportive powers of his playlist “Teenage Chemicals in 1985,” a soundtrack that began playing in those formative years and hasn’t stopped since.
During a conversation with David Rimanelli, Roe Ethridge reflected on photographs that he made during the late 1990s and early 2000s after moving to New York. They spoke as Ethridge was preparing for his exhibition Old Fruit.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2020
The Spring 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #412 (2003) on its cover.
Picasso and Maya: An Interview with Diana Widmaier-Picasso
Diana Widmaier-Picasso curated a presentation at Gagosian, Paris, to celebrate the publication of Picasso and Maya: Father and Daughter at the end of 2019. This comprehensive reference publication explores the figure of Maya Ruiz-Picasso, Pablo Picasso’s beloved eldest daughter, throughout Picasso’s work and chronicles the loving relationship between the artist and his daughter. In this video, Widmaier-Picasso details her ongoing interest in the subject and reflects on the process of making the book.
Self-Reflections: Roe Ethridge Innocence II
Angela Brown considers the wide-ranging photographs included in Roe Ethridge: Innocence II.
April 29–May 5, 2020
In his photographs, Roe Ethridge uses the real to suggest—or disrupt—the ideal. Through commercial images of fashion models, products, and advertisements, as well as intimate moments from his own daily life, he subverts the residual authority of established artistic genres such as the still life or the portrait, merging them with the increasingly pervasive image culture of the present. The continuous cross-pollination of fine art and applied photography has come to be the hallmark of Ethridge’s practice.
Photo: Vincent Dilio
Extended through May 30, 2020
February 26–May 30, 2020
976 Madison Avenue, New York