Raised in Barre, Massachusetts, I received a BA in Social Economics from The University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an MFA in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. For the past two years, I have taught photography, digital art, and time-based media at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Rochester, and Syracuse University. In the fall, I will join the University of Georgia, Lamar Dodd School of Art as Photography Fellow.
My work considers how personal psychology lives within a social ecology. It is an endeavor to comprehend events and experiences lost to the past or augmented through oral history and mythmaking. My desire is not to document a constellation of facts, it is to envision intangible events. It is an attempt to do exactly what I cannot: to be alive within all of the trappings of an other’s subjectivity—to illustrate internal images with external ones.
The surface reminds us that an artwork is a stand-in, that representation has limits. Photographs don’t cure amnesia, they attempt to fill in the gaps. It is the process of reenactment, an action of tracing history, that is most vicarious: wearing a red dress at the Ruby Red Ball, listening to opera with Greg, feeling where tucked testicles are situated under a corset, developing film in a lab at Castro and 18th, receiving my uncle’s postcard in the mail, dated 1978, that said:
See you in the future,
Love Michael Kelley