Tag Archives: Kelli

Kelli Connell: Double Life

Floating, 2005; from the series Double Life (c) Kelli Connell

These two women seen above floating in a pool–this never actually happened. Kelli Connell, whose work as Leo Costello claims, “falls within a tradition of Surrealist photography… [giving] form to the multifaceted, dynamic unconscious,” digitally manipulates her images to combine multiple exposures. She uses what is commonly thought of as an objective tool to create what she has instead termed “constructed realities.”

Her series Double Life (on view at Photo-eye Gallery through June 30, 2012) in which she employs this technique, “documents” the evolving relationship between two women (one model). In addition to exploring the visual rhetoric of digital imagery, the work is an investigation of and a kind of metaphor for the fluidity and instability of identity, sexuality, and gender roles.

“By digitally creating a photograph that is a composite of multiple negatives of the same model in one setting,” Connell writes in an artist’s statement, “the self is exposed as not a solidified being in reality, but as a representation of social and interior investigations that happen within the mind.”

This solo exhibition has previously been on view at Yossi Milo Gallery in 2007, and Catherine Edelman Gallery in 2011. That same year, Decode Books also published the Double Life monograph, which is reviewed here by Time Out Chicago and was featured as one of American Photo magazine’s Books of the Year.

A limited-edition print from that series, Floating, 2005, is available for purchase from Aperture. The image also appears in Connell’s volume of the sold out tripartite series MP3: Midwest Photographers Publication Project (Aperture 2006).

Additionally,  Connell’s work has appeared in Photo Art: Photography in the 21st Century (Aperture 2008) and The New York Times Magazine Photographs (Aperture 2011).

Prior to the show, check out a transcribed conversation between Connell and American portrait photographer Dawoud Bey on the subject of Double Life at Flak Photo.

Kelli Connell: Double Life
Exhibition on view:
June 1 – June 30, 2012

photo-eye Gallery
376 Garcia Street
Santa Fe, New Mexico
(800) 227-6941

Kelli Connell

Kelli Connell’s photographs seem to be everywhere these days, and soon they will be in Los Angeles, opening on February 25th at the Kopeikin Gallery. The exhibition, Double Life, will run through March 31, 2012. I have been a long time fan of her constructed realities, executed to perfection and visually charged. Only recently, I discovered that it is not Kelli Connell in the photographs, but a long time collaborator. No matter who the subbject, Kelli ‘s work is a powerful investigation of identity, sexuality, and gender roles and in some ways, the truest sense of self portraiture. She forces the viewer to explore their own identity and the process can be slightly unsettling.

Kelli received an MFA from Texas Woman’s University and currently lives and teaches in Chicago. She has exhibited widely and her work is held in many collections including Microsoft, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Columbus Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Haggerty Museum of Art and The Dallas Museum of Art. Her monograph, Kelli Connell: Double Life was published by DECODE Books in Fall 2011. Kelli will be at the Kopeikin Gallery for a book signing on Thursday, February 23, 5:30 – 7:30.

I’ve always seen identity as something that is very fluid and as such I usually shy away from labels altogether. Still, a larger part of this work explores the nature of identity formation. In my own personal history, the process of questioning my sexuality was confounding, because the conventional categories, and even the need to categorize in the first place felt like…something being pushed on me. Meanwhile the internal experience of my sexual and gender identity was quite natural and yet not a static thing at all. Perhaps this work is trying to figure out why we rely on categories and labels the way we do.

These images were created from scanning and manipulating two or more negatives in Adobe Photoshop. Using the computer as a tool to create a “believable” situation is not that different from accepting any photograph as an object of truth, or by creating a story about two people seen laughing, making-out, or quarreling in a restaurant. These photographs reconstruct the private relationships that I have experienced personally, witnessed in public, or watched on television. The events portrayed in these photographs look believable, yet have never occurred. By digitally creating a photograph that is a composite of multiple negatives of the same model in one setting, the self is exposed as not a solidified being in reality, but as a representation of social and interior investigations that happen within the mind.

This work represents an autobiographical questioning of sexuality and gender roles that shape the identity of the self in intimate relationships. Polarities of identity such as the masculine and feminine psyche, the irrational and rational self, the exterior and interior self, the motivated and resigned self are portrayed. By combining multiple photographic negatives of the same model in each image, the dualities of the self are defined by body language and clothing worn. This work is an honest representation of the duality or multiplicity of the self in regards to decisions about intimate relationships, family, belief systems and lifestyle options.

The importance of these images lies in the representation of interior dilemmas portrayed as an external object – a photograph. Through these images the audience is presented with “constructed realities”. I am interested in not only what the subject matter says about myself, but also what the viewers response to these images says about their own identities and social constructs.

Winter Pictures 2012 and some website updates

A note from editor Andy Adams

Hello All,

2012 is off to a great start and I wanted to touch base with some website updates as we round the corner into February. Thanks so much to those of you who have emailed with kind words about the site, your support means so much and it reminds me how connected our community really is. Our Winter Pictures 2012 feature wrapped last week: you can learn more about this year's artists by clicking the “Photo Details” link in their slideshow caption. Feel free to comment on their photos — I’m sharing your feedback with the photographers and many of them are responding to our readers from inside their posts.

If you haven’t already seen them, take a peek at this month’s interviews: we’re featuring conversations with Kelli Connell, Richard Barnes and Darin Mickey. And there are some smart videos profiling photographers Sarah Sudhoff and John Coffer as well as original motion pictures by Simon Biswas, Brian Lesteberg, Susan Worsham and Rafal Milach in the Motion section. I’d love for more people learn about these image-makers, so please share the posts with students and colleagues who would enjoy them.

In other news: We launched our first solo exhibition in the Flak Photo Galleries: a selection of tintype portraits from photographer Keliy Anderson-Staley. In support of her gallery, we’re teaming up with Light Work to give away ten signed copies of her Contact Sheet issue this week. It’s a lovely piece of work, so I hope you’ll make time to enter the drawing — Submission deadline is Thursday, February 2.

I’m also excited to introduce a new feature we’ve been developing: the small slideshow gallery you’re seeing up top. We’re planning to present the photography discussed in Flak Photo’s Features, Books and News sections with this new approach. Big thanks are in order to the Flak Photo Beta group members who tested our demo and helped us iron out the wrinkles this week. The way we look at photography online is changing rapidly, and it’s important to us that you’re able to enjoy Flak Photo when and where you want it, so we’ve built the slideshow with mobile and tablets in mind. In addition to navigating the old-fashioned way with your mouse, you can swipe the pictures on your touchscreen. Give it a try next time you’re away from your desk; we think you’ll like it.

Some of you have suggested that it should be easier to find photos or artists in The Collection. We agree and are planning to improve how you search and browse the archives. To begin with, we’ve proofed the 1,500+ images in the collection — with significant help from members of the online photography community. Sincere thanks are in order to Cécile Poulain, Samuel Glazebrook, Adam Neese, Willson Cummer, Connor McNicholas and Laura Chenault for graciously volunteering to help us with the process — See their handiwork at FlakPhoto.com/Collection.

Finally, I wanted to invite all of you to join us in the Flak Photo Beta group. We’re using Facebook to share behind-the-scenes website updates and also to listen to ideas about how we can improve upon the work  we've done so far. There are more updates coming later this year and your feedback will help us make this experience even better. You can find us at Facebook.com/Groups/FlakPhotoBeta.

I hope the New Year has been a creative one for all of you – As always, I’d love to hear about what you’ve been working on. You can contact me at any time via email, Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.

Best,

Andy Adams
Editor • Producer • Publisher
FlakPhoto.com

Colleen Plumb and Kelli Connell to Sign Books at the MoCP

Whether taking pictures of humans or animals, both Colleen Plumb and Kelli Connell’s new photography books have a lot to say about how humans interact with other living things. And on Tuesday, Plumb and Connell will be interacting with people at the MoCP from 5 to 6:30pm to discuss their work and sign their new books.

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Colleen Plumb, Animals are Outside Today, Published by Radius Books

Plumb’s new book, Animals are Outside Today, explores the relationships humans form with animals. From beloved household pets to exotic circus animals, she explores the attachments people feel toward certain animals over others and how these emotions allow humans to grieve over the death of some animals but not others, such as road kill and animals slaughtered for meat.

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Kelli Connell, Double Life, Published by Decode Books

Connell’s new book, Double Life, scales back to examine the relationship between two identical individuals caught up in the complexity of everyday life. Seemingly benign scenarios, like having a picnic in the park, give way to more intimate interactions, like taking a bubble bath together. Magnifying the complexity of these emotions is the fact that these two women appear to be identical twins.

Colleen Plumb and Kelli Connell to Sign Books at the MoCP

Whether taking pictures of humans or animals, both Colleen Plumb and Kelli Connell’s new photography books have a lot to say about how humans interact with other living things. And on Tuesday, Plumb and Connell will be interacting with people at the MoCP from 5 to 6:30pm to discuss their work and sign their new books.

Plumb_blog_9.22.jpg
Colleen Plumb, Animals are Outside Today, Published by Radius Books

Plumb’s new book, Animals are Outside Today, explores the relationships humans form with animals. From beloved household pets to exotic circus animals, she explores the attachments people feel toward certain animals over others and how these emotions allow humans to grieve over the death of some animals but not others, such as road kill and animals slaughtered for meat.

Connell_blog_9.22.jpg
Kelli Connell, Double Life, Published by Decode Books

Connell’s new book, Double Life, scales back to examine the relationship between two identical individuals caught up in the complexity of everyday life. Seemingly benign scenarios, like having a picnic in the park, give way to more intimate interactions, like taking a bubble bath together. Magnifying the complexity of these emotions is the fact that these two women appear to be identical twins.

Our Origins Opening Reception Draws a Crowd

We’d like to thank everyone who came out to the opening reception for Our Origins last Thursday!

The event, which included a guided gallery tour from contributing artists Alison Ruttan, Ken Fandell, Alison Carey and Jennifer Ray, had an exceptional turnout, allowing artists, curators, college students and the general public to meet and discuss artistic representations to the age-old question, “Where do we, as humans, come from?”

In case you missed it, here are some photos from the event:

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Jennifer Ray discusses the inspiration behind her series, Go Deep into the Woods.

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Alison Carey discusses her series, Organic Remains of a Former World with visitors.

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After giving a lecture on his video installation, The Most Important Picture Ever, Ken Fandell mingles during the reception.

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Jennifer Ray fields questions on her work during the opening reception.

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The crowd snacks and socializes, no doubt making plans to meet up at the next MoCP event.

Miss this event? Visit us for one of these upcoming events at the museum:
• Thursday, September 27 at 5 p.m. when Colleen Plumb and Kelli Connell visit the museum to sign their books, Animals are Outside Today and Double Life.
• Tuesday, October 2 when Our Origins artist Aspen Mays joins Kathryn Schaffer, postdoctoral fellow at the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics at the University of Chicago, to talk about ways scientists and photographers can team up to help answer questions about the origins of the universe.