Vicki Ragan


June 9 – August 5, 2001

My photographs often reflect the tension between the undeniable –  history, autobiography, commerce, facts, things –  and the mysterious or improbable –  myths, make-believe, intuition, dreams, poetry. I have been collecting and making things to assemble into dioramas – scenes of make-believe –  for the last twenty years: sometimes for the camera, sometimes for instillation.

This body of work began as an exercise in constructing environments out of maps and charts. It evolved into a more metaphorical exploration of the human need to make sense of life and confront morality though ritual and myth.

The images piece together shards of information that are embedded in our collective subconscious from legends and art. They suggest the ambiguity of history and the differing interpretations of classical symbols.

The C-prints I create, initially shot with outdated Polaroid positive-negative film, seek to go beyond the mere ordering of facts by using an unpredictable medium to pull them into the inexplicable world of faith, instinct, and emotion.

Vicki Ragan was born in 1951 in Colorado and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She took her first course in photography at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1970 and went on to obtain her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Chicago Art Institute and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona at Tucson. After graduate school she worked as a scientific photographer in a structural biology lab at Brandeis University. A recipient of two Polaroid grants, Ragan’s work resides in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Fine Art, Helmut Gernsheim Collection at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Huston Museum of Fine Art. Exhibition venues include the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Houston Center for Photography, the Print Center in Philadelphia, the Southeast Museum of Photography, and the Art Institute of Boston, among many. Her work is published in books including Oaxacan Ceramics, and The Edible Alphabet Book, magazine covers on the Smithsonian Magazine and the British Journal of Photography, and articles in the New York Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution, American Photographer, and Popular Photography.