Kelli Connell, "Picnic", 2002, Digital C-print, 30x40"

Kelli Connell, “Picnic”, 2002, Digital C-print, 30×40″

Kelli Connell

This work represents an autobiographical questioning of sexuality and gender roles that shape the identity of the self in intimate relationships. Polarities such as the masculine and feminine psyche, the irrational and rational self, the exterior and interior self, and the motivated and resigned self are portrayed.

The images are created by combining multiple negatives of the same model, which are then scanned and manipulated in Photoshop. Although these images are constructed, the stories they infer about two people seen laughing, making-out, or quarreling, resonate with truth. These photographs are re-enactments of private relationships that I have personally experienced, witnessed in public, or watched on television. By digitally creating an image that is a composite of multiples of the same model and setting, the self is exposed not as a solidified being in reality, but rather, as a representation of social and interior investigations that happen within the mind and the multiplicity inherent in every individual.

The importance of these images lies in the fact that the interior dilemmas are portrayed as an external object – a photograph. I am interested not only in what the subject matter says about myself, but also what the viewers’ response to these images says about their own identities and social constructs.

Kelli Connell (Youngstown, Ohio) received her MFA from Texas Woman’s University in 2003 and now works as an Assistant Professor of Photography at Youngstown State University in Ohio. Connell’s work has been exhibited across the US at venues including the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Columbus Museum of Art, Photo-Eye Gallery in Santa Fe, Dallas Center for Contemporary Art, Society for Contemporary Photography in Kansas City, and Diverse Works in Houston. She has been recognized with numerous awards including a Kodak Product grant and an SPE scholarship. Her work is included in the collections of Microsoft, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Columbus Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. She was recently featured in MP3: Midwest Photographers’ Publication Project co-published by Aperture and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, as well as Vitamin Ph: New Perspectives in Photography by Phaidon. Her work is represented by Yossi Milo Gallery in NYC, Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Barry Whistler Gallery in Dallas, Texas.