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b. 1969, USA

Roe Ethridge Biography

In his international exhibitions American photographer Roe Ethridge wittily melds an eclectic and obscure collection of conceptual, commercial, and everyday images. Recombining and recontextualising them in wry and disjointed non-linear narratives he subverts the conventional boundaries within photography.

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Working in New York, Roe Ethridge captures the world around him through the classic genres of portrait, landscape, and still life, taking pictures ranging from the spontaneous snap to the meticulously staged set. He combines conceptual art with family photos, commercial photography—outtakes of his own professional work for publications like The New York Times and Vice—and borrowed imagery. Thus the artist creates an uneasy tension between the generic art historical and the disturbingly intimate.

There is always something not quite right with the images Roe Ethridge chooses to bring together: odd associations, visual disparity, convoluted hidden themes. His imagery is, as he described to David Campany, '"right" in its wrongness.'

Raised in Atlanta, Roe Ethridge studied photography at the Atlanta College of Art, graduating with a BFA in 1995. He moved to New York in the same year as his first solo show overseas—Floral Arrangements at Scalo Galerie, Zurich (1997)—and his inclusion in the Atlanta Biennial at Atlanta's Nexus Contemporary Art Center (now Atlanta Contemporary), preceded by several other significant group shows in Atlanta and New York.

Roe Ethridge's hallmark approach of cross-pollinating disparate genres made its first public appearance in 2001 at MoMA PS1, the Queens branch of The Museum of Modern Art. Seizing an appealing outtake from a professional shoot for the magazine Allure and mixing that with an image of a UPS Mail Innovations store, the artist blurred the boundaries between his 'artistic' and 'commercial' practices. He cites Lee Friedlander and Andy Warhol as early inspirations—artists who subvert the distinctions between the different functions and sub-genres of art.

In 2001 Roe Ethridge also featured in the exhibition the americans. new art. at the Barbican Centre, London, which examined the new wave of American contemporary art. Since then he has continued to feature in key exhibitions at prominent museums and institutions that include Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art in New York; and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. He also contributed to the Whitney Biennial 2008 in New York.

Beyond the contemporary art events and institutions of the United States, Roe Ethridge has gained significant recognition in Europe. In 2011 he was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize in Berlin. His first major survey, curated by Anne Pontégnie, was shown at Le Consortium in Dijon (2012) followed by Belgium's Museum Leuven (2012).

The content of Roe Ethridge's exhibitions and recent survey, such as Old Fruit at Gagosian, New York (2020), reveals strong contrasts in style, sentiment, and subject between individual works. The detached Pigeon (2001) and the quietly atmospheric Rockaway Beach (2008) are jarringly different from the highly emotive but staged Ambulance Accident (2000).

While often bringing together seemingly unconnected images, there is usually some common thread for which they have been collectively repurposed. Roe Ethridge's artwork examines themes that range from the imagery and feeling of a summer vacation nearing its end—such as the series 'Shelter Island' (2016)—to the superfluity of luxury, as explored in the series 'Le Luxe' (2011).

Sometimes Roe Ethridge's themes are even less tangible, as seen in the photobook American Spirit (2017). Referencing a cigarette brand whose packages appear in some of his works, pages of the book are layered photocollages drawn from a random collection of images stored on Ethridge's computer, subverting and challenging the conventions of art photography.

Biography by Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2020

Roe Ethridge Featured Artworks

View All (72)
Karolin by Roe Ethridge contemporary artwork
Roe EthridgeKarolin, 2008C-print
127 x 101.6 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Enquire about this work
Boat Interior by Roe Ethridge contemporary artwork
Roe EthridgeBoat Interior, 2004C-print
102.87 x 81.28 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Enquire about this work
Self-portrait by Roe Ethridge contemporary artwork
Roe EthridgeSelf-portrait, 2007C-print
91.4 x 61 cm
Campoli Presti Enquire about this work
Lili Pregnant by Roe Ethridge contemporary artwork
Roe EthridgeLili Pregnant, 2017Dye sublimation print on aluminium
182.9 x 121.9 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Enquire about this work
Carnations Lilting by Roe Ethridge contemporary artwork
Roe EthridgeCarnations Lilting, 2018Dye sublimation print on aluminium
134.6 x 101.6 cm
Andrew Kreps Gallery Enquire about this work
White Duck by Roe Ethridge contemporary artwork
Roe EthridgeWhite Duck, 2014Dye sublimation print on aluminium
72 x 48 inches
Andrew Kreps Gallery Enquire about this work
Suds and Rugs at Megerian Rug Cleaners by Roe Ethridge contemporary artwork
Roe EthridgeSuds and Rugs at Megerian Rug Cleaners, 2018Dye sublimation print on aluminium
101.6 x 76.2 cm
Gagosian Enquire about this work
at Megerian Rug Cleaners by Roe Ethridge contemporary artwork
Roe Ethridgeat Megerian Rug Cleaners, 2018Dye sublimation print on aluminium
81.3 x 61 cm
Gagosian Enquire about this work

Roe Ethridge Recent Exhibitions

View All (9)
Contemporary art exhibition, Roe Ethridge, Old Fruit at Gagosian, New York
Closed
26 February–30 May 2020 Roe Ethridge Old Fruit Gagosian976 Madison Avenue, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, American Pastoral at Gagosian, London
Closed
23 January–14 March 2020 Group Exhibition American Pastoral GagosianBritannia Street, London
Contemporary art exhibition, Roe Ethridge, Sanctuary 2 at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York
Closed
6 September–2 November 2019 Roe Ethridge Sanctuary 2 Andrew Kreps Gallery22 Cortlandt Alley

Roe Ethridge Represented By

Campoli Presti contemporary art gallery in London, United Kingdom Campoli Presti London, Paris
Gagosian contemporary art gallery in 980 Madison Avenue, New York, USA Gagosian New York, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, London, Paris, Le Bourget, Geneva, Basel, Rome, Athens, Hong Kong

Roe Ethridge In Related Press

Making photos, not taking them; the distinction in 'Perfect Likeness' Related Press Making photos, not taking them; the distinction in 'Perfect Likeness' 8 July 2015, LA Times

Last year a Silicon Valley researcher estimated that more than 1.5 billion new photographs are posted every day on just the larger social media platforms, such as Facebook, Reddit and Snapchat. A new exhibition at the UCLA Hammer Museum proposes that, in response to this visually numbing fact, a distinctive strain of photography has slowly...

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