Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present Shelter Island, an exhibition of new photography by Roe Ethridge. The exhibition presents a body of work made during a summer stay at the eastern end of Long Island, New York. Effortlessly employing an array of classic photographic genres–from portraiture to still life to landscape–Ethridge captures his subjects and surrounding environment in vivid, intimate detail. The artist combines the glossy, prefabricated effect of commercial photography with the perspective of fine art photography to create works at once familiar and uncanny, nostalgic and distinctly contemporary.
On Shelter Island, Ethridge turned to his family and the American Kit house they rented for the summer. In the home’s garage, Ethridge discovered a range of discarded and stored away possessions from the homeowner and their children, who have grown up and moved out. Evocative and intimate, the objects as props bespeak a lifetime of childhood summers spent in a distinctly American tradition–in the images we see stacked Coca-Cola bottles, a boy playing with a baseball bat, a colorful kite. The register of Ethridge’s Shelter Island document, however, is less of an idealization of these symbols than a melancholic expression of the end of summer malaise. The sun shines brightly in these images, yet a bouquet of flowers is seen well past its prime, the Coca-Cola bottles appear neglected and gathering dust, and the kite is seen plunged into water and inert, rather than flying buoyantly. In this panoply, an image of Pamela Anderson eating grapes and a grid of iPhone screenshots made by the artist’s daughter expand and complicate the Shelter Island narrative. In Ethridge’s distinct technique, the passage of time, and of youth, is made both intimate and personal, yet stylized and highly mediated.
A color catalogue of Ethridge’s work will be published on the occasion of this exhibition.
Roe Ethridge was born in 1969 in Miami, Florida, and lives and works in New York. His photographs have appeared in solo exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow; and Le Consortium, Dijon, France. Ethridge has also been included in group exhibitions at notable institutions including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Barbican Center, London; MoMA PS1, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.