Buck Ellison’s work broadly investigates the language of privilege through meticulously researched images, often executed through staged settings and performative interventions into the visual language of photography. On the surface, many of Ellison's images appear to mildly reproduce the habits and tastes of comfortable, white, upper-middle-class families: organic vegetables, wellness therapies, performance sportswear, lacrosse & rowing, family Christmas card portraits. However, lurking beneath this is a deep network of enquiry into how whiteness and privilege are sustained and broadcast, whether it is what you put in your body, the bumper sticker on your car, which health problems you can afford to worry about or the quality of the air you breathe.
Ellison pays actors and models throughout his work to stand in and take on the appearance of generic characters, at times reminiscent of commercial or advertising tropes. In this breaking down of boundaries between different rules of photography, Ellison’s work goes beyond a fetishism or repudiation of wealthy habits, in favour of something more ambivalent and uncomfortable. Through webs of association stretching across various photographic styles, Ellison's work delivers an anthropology of W.A.S.P. America – where the quest for authenticity and well-being is aestheticised, internalised and commodified.
- Loose Joints Publishing, 2020
Buck Ellison (b. 1987, San Francisco), lives and works in Los Angeles. Graduated from Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main in 2014 & Columbia University, Columbia College, New York, 2010. Selected exhibitions include Made in LA 2020: A version, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Huntington Museum, Pasadena, USA, 2020; The Meeting, New York, 2017, Louisa, La Paix, Paris, 2016, Modesty, Weiss Berlin, 2016, Country Day, Bad Bentheim Castle, Burg Bentheim, 2015 (cat.), Ratio 3, San Francisco, 2014; Antarctica, Kunsthalle Wien, 2018, Shutter, Carnelutti, Milan, 2018, Where We Meet, Inman Gallery, Houston, 2018, Case Study, Balice Hertling, Paris, 2017, Golden State, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, 2017 (cat.), Tilting At Windmills, Roberta, Frankfurt am Main, 2017, Mad Horizon, Index, Stockholm, 2016 (cat.), New German Photography, On Stellar Rays, New York, 2016 (cat.), The Sun Placed In The Abyss, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, 2016 (cat), Misanthrope-NY, Mathew Gallery, New York, 2015, The Social Register, Park View, Los Angeles, 2015, Villa Aurora Revisited, Balice Hertling, New York, 2015, Pashmina, Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, 2014 (cat.).