Willimantic, Conn. – The first exhibit of the spring semester, “Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey,” will conclude Feb. 20 at Eastern Connecticut State University’s Akus Gallery. The exhibit features a variety of unexpected and experimental work by renowned photographer Ellen Carey. Her work has been labeled abstract and surreal, as well as a “black swan phenomenon”—a term used to describe exceptional achievements that occurred unintentionally or by surprise.
“In my work the process becomes the subject,” wrote Carey. “My work represents the absence of a picture found in landscapes, portraits and still life.” In her art, the means is the end; the process itself is on display.
“Let There Be Light” features a series of like-themed photographic pieces, each using color, light and darkness in different, experimental ways. Carey’s series currently on display include “Photogenic Drawings” from 1999, “Ray Bands” from 2003, “Dings and Shadows” from 2012 and 2013, “Pulls with mixed and Off-Set Pods” from 2010, “Light Tight” from 2006 and “Multichrome Monochromes” from 2008.
“Carey realized that the medium of photography, generally presumed to represent what is real, also could show how things are not always what they seem,” wrote poet and author Donna Fleisher when remarking on Carey’s pioneering techniques. “Her work is unprecedented in photography—a black swan phenomenon.”
Carey lives and works in Hartford and New York, where she is an educator, scholar, guest curator, photographer and artist, whose primary tool is a large Polaroid camera. Her work has been the subject of 50 one-person exhibits and is in the permanent collections of more than 20 major photography and art museums. Carey is the associate professor of photography at the University of Hartford.
“Let There Be Light: The Black Swans of Ellen Carey” is showing from January 9 to 20 at the Akus Gallery from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.