2024 Emerging Artist Exhibition – Thomas Sayers Ellis

Artist Statement

I am far-sighted with an astigmatism in my right eye. My eyes are brown, parents. The left one is my mother. The right, my father. Vision, a kinship. Sight, a lineage. I see in layers––real and imagined, seen and unseen. A dimension appears. Within the dimension, things gradually disappear entering the gravy of visual integration. Not just a way of seeing, photography is a way to repair reality. The lens, any focal length, is a way of forcing the retina to reveal its many visible and invisible secrets. There’s an aesthetic reservoir, an exposition, five faint vertical bars in the nearly panoramic triple exposure. I imagine him sitting outside the first World’s Fair like a cornea posing for a slit lamp.
Found in the whirlwind of framed imagination and foresight, the foundation is without formula. Focused, unfocused. Unfocused, focused. Get closer, move away. There’s more than metaphor in the intimacy, more than obedience in the distancing. As opposition to compromise but no less a surrender, the layering occurs in-camera. Shots fired, double barreled. Shoot the roll of film, rewind, shoot it again. Colored Only. Segregating the universe only proves that it is made of penetrable darkness, supreme portraits that contain the souls of atoms and stories. Fish, flowers, and painters were the first to contribute to the pictorial protest. Memory card begone. Here lies the cultural collision: the hard stare between subject and viewer, the harmony in the haunting that, if purchased, follows you home. The best trios shed autobiography.
Everything falls where it fails, where (rising in the composition) creativity promises to be finished. There’s no “chance” in paradise, only the slight hand of seasonal accident and aim. One must be interested in every raindrop all at once. If the work has a subject, that subject is the way the permanence of identity fades––how it performs a two-way thinning of tradition, allowing us to see through what we thought was solid. Our realm redefined according to the mechanical literature of light, shutter ghosts tuned to the key of f-stops, not the trendy fashions of reactionary eyewear. Photographs are never done, only abandoned. All analog logic: no A.I. in the developer, DPI in the iris, exam machine in the darkroom. Eye am far-sighted with an astigmatism in my right I, a great exhibition!

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