On January 23, 2014, the Akus Gallery in Shafer Hall hosted a reception party, showcasing Ellen’s Carey’s artwork titled “Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey”. Students from art classes, faculty, and others attend the event to admire and discuss how she explores the idea of a darkroom contradictory to how photographers use it.
Carey is currently an associate professor at the University of Hartford specializing in photography. A booklet, handed out during the reception, discusses how her field translates into an artwork all its own. Carey writes about the questions people usually ask about her work dealing with the process and the picture itself.
“In my work, the process becomes the subject,” Carey explains in the preface. “The second question addresses the conundrum of a photographic image without a picture or sign to read.”
Essentially, Carey asks: What is a photograph?
Several works showcased explored that question through various series of artworks. Four of those pieces looked at photography through photogenic drawings since, according to their description, photography derives from two Greek words. One of those words, graphein, translates as “to write”, reinforcing how Carey questions what photography really is.
A press release, issued by the Akus Gallery, discusses how Carey’s work expands and questions photography through her discovery of the “Pull” technique. This method, creating a parabola, creates a foundation for Carey’s “Black Swans” meaning how her works define photography as pictures of light.
According to the press release, “By not using traditional photographic tools such as a camera or a darkroom, Carey often eliminates the image as ‘picture sign’ found in portrait, landscape or still life photographs. In Carey’s world, there is no document of a person, place or thing — only records of light. Her artistic intention is to capture light’s first traces.”
The reception for Ellen Carey’s showcase allowed for students, faculty, and guests alike to look at photography anew. Her work will remain on display in the Akus Gallery until February 20, 2014.