Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.

Constructed as recontextualized moments based in ongoing narratives, my work functions as a documented abstraction of daily life. I subvert the biographical context in which the images were made in favor of multiple fictions and inquiries into the medium of photography, expressed through installation and photographic sculptural interventions. Thinking beyond the original frame of the image, I bend the use of traditional methods of printing and framing to present the work. I am interested in the limitations of photography, specifically what is excluded from what is included in the image; what information is compromised, and to what effect, in the distance between the image and the viewer? Further, how can this distance, steeped in insight and intimacy, conjure multiple realities for the image?

I engage a person’s likeness as a foundation for imagining beyond their individual circumstance. So while I’m dealing with reality to make the photographs, the resulting works aim to invent figures or circumstances in consideration of the sitter’s privacy and the possibilities of expression that become more clear through recontextualization. As a portrait photographer, I am interested in the photographic history of black representation and its inclination to defend or tell the truth about black life. Here intimate experiences are revealed as both personal artifacts and sociopolitical stimulus. Considering this, I work to assist or guide the viewer in fantasizing about the multiple truths that an image can serve. Using the pictured environment, objects within the space, or the margins of the frame itself to disguise or reference an individual, my photographs encourage imaginative speculation, while denying accurate explanations. The photographs become a prime space for curiosity and refusal; a sincere invitation to an empty room.

For me the act of making an image is collaborative in that I work with environments as they have been crafted by those who inhabit them. I often give little direction for how a person should take up the image, especially as the images are made within an already-existing action or event. Moving the imaged person between a series of occlusions and reveals, I leave space for the individual to withstand the viewers’ categorization, maintaining that the imaged person belongs to themselves. I capture a person in a place of comfort, emphasizing ordinary elements as a way to value the sitter and space through several stages of expression. As the sitters’ identities are often obscured, my work is less concerned with representing any one person as it is with emphasizing the power of the photograph to negotiate information.

2016 New York University, Photography and Imaging, BFA

Group Exhibitions

Intimacy, Yossi Milo Gallery, New York, NY
Daybreak: New Affirmations in Queer Phot ography, Leslie Lohman Museum, New York, NY
Black Blooded, The New Gallery, Charlotte, North Carolina
Ultra Vivid Dreaming, BlueSky Gallery, Portland, Oregon
FOUR., We Buy Gold, New York, NY
NADA NY 2018, La MaMa Galleria, New York, NY
LOVE: Pu rple Hearts, Columbia University Leroy Neiman Gallery, New York, NY

With You, New Image Art, West Hollywood, LA
Discursive Selves, Westbeth Gallery, New York, NY
Stranger Things, Outpost Artists Resources, Ridgewood, NY
Life and Living, Hudson Valley LGBTQ Community Center, Hudson, NY
Sebastian, Tell Aware (photo accompaniment to performance by Jerome AB), Secret Project, Robot,
Brooklyn, NY
Shared Subjects, Spring/Break Art Show, New York, NY
Lintel, Mantel, Module, Shelf, La Mama Galleria, New York, NY

Art Crush, Platform Gallery, Baltimore, MD
Bodies on Display, 368 Ponce, Atlanta, GA
The Ointment, Signal Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Treading Water, TGIF Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
An Exhibition on Authenticity and Anger, BUFU Studios, Brooklyn, NY
Collaborati ve Exhibition Exchange, Galerie AMU, Prague, Czech Republic
Taking Up Space: An Exhibition of Works by Craig W hite and Elliott Brown Jr., Forum Art Space, Purchase, NY
Show Two: NYU Tisch Photography and Imaging BFA Thesis Exhibition 2016, New York University, New York, NY

Respond, Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Young, Colored, & Angry, Holyrad Studio, Brooklyn, NY

5th Annual Contemp orary Photography Exhibition, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Philadelphia, PA (juried by Brian Paul Clamp and Mary Ellen Mark)

RedLab Laboratorio de Gestión y Vinculación Cultural A.C. presents II Recording Light Workshop: Exhibition of Results, Polifórum Digital Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico

Prizes & Awards
2016 New York Times Portfolio Review
2015 Sam Shahid Scholarship
Paulette Goddard Scholarship

Residencies & Fellowships
2018-2019 St. Roch Community Church Artist Residency
2018 Camera Club at Baxter Street NY Workspace
2017 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture
2015 Imaging America Fellowship

2018 Ultra Vivid Dreaming (Exhibition Catalogue), Blue Sky Gallery, May
2017 VICE 2017 Photo Issue, August
2016 Niijournal: Volume 1, September
Mossless 4: Public/Private/Portrait, June
Yáñez, Marcelo, Newspaper, Volume 5, Number 1 (contemporary revival of original 1969 publication), March

Selected Bibliography

2018 “22 Queer Photographers Illustrate What ‘Pride’ Really Means,” W Magazine , June 22

2017 The New Yorker Photo Instagram Takeover, October 2 – October 8
Gardenhire, Jonathan, “5 x 5: ‘Beneath Our Glory’,” TAGTAGTAG Magazine : August 7
“Elliott Jerome Brown Jr. on Carrie Mae Weems,” VICE : August
Embuscado, Rain, “Art that Evokes the Uncanny Body,” Hyperallergic : June 30
Thill, Vanessa, “Critics’ Picks: ‘Stranger Things’ at Outpost Artists Resources,” ARTFORUM : June 23
Almino, Elisa Wouk, “Peruse a Zine and Self-Published Photo Book Fair Like It’s Your Private Library,” Hyperallergic : June 13
Sargent, Antwaun, “Intimate Photos Open a Window into Black Domestic Life,” The Creators Project : April 14
Malcolm-Aimé and Brown Jr., Elliott Jerome, “Listen to the Kids,” The Outline : March 2 Callahan, Maura, “Kahlon’s Cut Up Series returns with audio-visual exhibition,” City Paper : February 1

2016 Valinsky, Michael, “Photographer Elliott Jerome Brown Jr. Delves Deeply Into Black Lives,” i-D : November 10
Howe, Mary, “Photographer of the Week #139: Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.,” Capricious : July 26

2015 AfroPunk, “The Complexity of Blackness: The Photography of Elliott Brown Jr.,” AfroPunk : June 10
Carter, Holland, “Raging at Racism, From Streets to Galleries: Smack Mellon and Grey
Art Display Art Sparked by Politics,” The New York Times : January 22
Courtney Iseman, “Young, Colored, & Angry! Sets Out To Flip That Phrase On Its Head”, i-D : May 28
Disser, Nicole, “Young, Colored, & Angry Brings Together Artists of Color, Takes Back Art Education,”
Bedford and Bowery , May 14
Eaton, Abdu Ali, “QTIPOCS On The Block: Elliott Brown Jr.,” True Laurels : November 10
Kuennen, Joel, “Smack Mellon’s RESPOND and the New Imaginary,” ArtSlant : January 19 Steinhauer, Jillian, “After a Call for Change, Artists Respond,” Hyperallergic : February 13 Tsoulis-Rey, Alexa, “The Sex Lives of College Students,” New York Magazine: October