Roe Ethridge: Happy Birthday Louise Parker II

23 Jul-28 Sep 2024

Gagosian, Davies St.
London W1K 3DE


Gagosian is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Roe Ethridge, presented as a pair of different but interconnected selections at the gallery’s Gstaad and London locations. Happy Birthday Louise Parker II follows Ethridge’s recent exhibition Happy Birthday Louise Parker at 10 Corso Como, Milan, and is named for a model with whom he collaborated on several fashion editorials beginning in 2010.

Plotting a zone between commercial, editorial, and studio photography, Ethridge explores the potential of the image in ways that transcend the categorical restrictions of conventional artistic production. While he explores a diverse array of subjects, from still-life arrangements to fashion shoots and portraits, Ethridge tackles projects with consistent formal rigor, adopting approaches that contribute nuance to the documentation of lived experience and the visual languages of design and commerce. Juxtaposing staged scenes with chanced-upon vignettes, Ethridge pursues a formal sensibility that hinges on the bending and breaking of aesthetic rules.

In works such as Louise on David’s Refrigerator (2012–20) and Louise on Central Park Smoke (2023), both on view in London, Ethridge depicts Parker in the context of both styled modeling spreads and more natural, intimate situations, thereby visualizing the intertwining of life and representation, the everyday and the staged. While Louise(2014), on view in Gstaad, is an unadorned—albeit sharply detailed—head-and-shoulders portrait, Louise in a Chair for Double (2015), in London, shows Parker striking an impish pose on a seat draped in bright red fabric. An overtly styled image designed to highlight the model’s attire, it was produced for the titular French fashion magazine. And as the artist’s gaze meets that of his friend and collaborator, a complex interplay between photographer, camera, and subject comes into view.

Other works also see Ethridge explore the balance between sleek promotional imagery and spontaneous personal record. Duck for Burberry (2023) and Duck on Glass for Burberry (2023), on view in London and Gstaad, respectively, were produced for a promotional campaign in which the distinctively British animals are paired with the storied British fashion house’s bags and other items, while in London, Candy and Comme des Garçons (2024) presents a similarly incongruous pairing of junk food and high fashion. (Even ‘unbranded’ still-life images such as Double Dogwood with Dew Drops [2021] and Birthday Still Life [2023], both on view in Gstaad, incorporate vivid detail into their often surprising juxtapositions of form and function.) 

By contrast, works such as Auggie with Raccoon Tail (2015) and Lee Lou at Sunset Park Ferry Terminal (2021) (both in Gstaad), while also drawing attention to light and color, shape and arrangement, document Ethridge’s family life. In the London exhibition’s Me and Auggie (2015), a self-portrait with his then five-year-old son, the artist offers a poignant reminder of the passage of time and the cyclical nature of life. Even in such reflective familial images, however, his absorption in the subtleties of composition and the history of photography remain paramount. In Gstaad’s Pic ’n Clip #3 (2017) and Pic ’n Clip Glitch NFT (2021), he reveals elements of the processes of selection, editing, and post-production by building layered collages from superimposed components, making visible their occupation of varied and mercurial formats and modes. Considered alongside the shots of Parker, these sometimes-disorienting images become part of a nonlinear narrative in which unexpected connections are forged between the aesthetic codes of fashion and the differently complex visual intersections of everyday life.

Roe Ethridge was born in 1969 in Miami and lives and works in New York. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Tate, London. Solo exhibitions include Momentum 4, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2005); Selected Works, Charles Riva Collection, Brussels (2012); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2012, traveled to Museum Leuven, Belgium); and Nearest Neighbor, FotoFocus Biennial, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2016). Ethridge’s work was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial. In 2011 he was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize.

ROE ETHRIDGE: Happy Birthday Louise Parker II
Opening reception: Thursday, July 11, 11am–6pm
July 11–September 8, 2024
Promenade 79, Gstaad

Opening reception: Tuesday, July 23, 6–8pm
July 23–September 28, 2024
17–19 Davies Street, London