Ink, wash and graphite on paper
11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches (29.21 x 20.96 cm)
Image courtesy of Candice Madey, New York
Darrel Ellis (b. 1958, New York – d. 1992, New York) drew self-portraits based on photographs taken by himself as well as friends, lovers, and other artists such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Hujar and Allen Frame. Self-portrait is one such work, the washed-out areas evidencing its flash photographic source. In other works, Ellis staged pictures of himself enacting various stereotypes of a Black man: security guard, beggar, Black Panther.
Ellis created an approach to portraiture that aligned him with a Pictures generation investigation of media appropriation but with his own family history and identity as a subject. Ellis developed a unique process whereby he cast projections of found photographs, such as those taken by his late father, onto the walls of his studio and then re-photographed them from different heights and angles and varying levels of exposure. The results images compose a deconstructed, and re-imaged family history, creating uncanny portraits marked by voids and distended proportions.
Ellis died of AIDS in 1992.
Other works by Darrel Ellis
Untitled (Laure and Mother in the Grass) (c. 1985-87)