Discarded or stylized? Both are necessary for me. — Roe Ethridge
Roe Ethridge’s approach to image-making encompasses a variety of photographic tropes, among them documentary, appropriation, collage, snapshot, and fashion photography. He is not interested in creating a certain type of image, but in asking how and why any image exists and gains cultural value. Chanel Bracelets with Mackerel appears at first to be an absurdist fashion editorial that plays off the metallic sheen of the fish and bracelets. And yet, one could read it as a contemporary vanitas work in the tradition of Dutch still life painting. In these 16th and 17th century works, artists depicted flowers, skulls, and watches (among other items) as symbols of the fragile, temporary nature of beauty and earthly existence. Here, the wilting flowers and dead fish are evidence of the passing of life, while the bracelets might comment on the futile pursuit of youth and beauty. Ethridge’s work has been included in numerous museum exhibitions worldwide.