The Michael Hoppen Gallery is delighted to present a new series of photographic works by Chloe Sells titled Senescence. This exhibition marks the first solo show of Sells’s work at Michael Hoppen Gallery.
Informed by extensive travel, residence and immersion in countries foreign to her, Sells explores the question of how places are defined, while speculating on the consequences of human experience of place. Is a place fixed, or continually shifting? Do people shape the particularities of space as they encounter it? From a distinct orientation, what is revealed about comfort or fear, revulsion or curiosity?
Using the stylized and archetypal format of the still life, the objects within the body of work are symbolic surrogates, coordinates embedded with notations of exploration and movement. Relics of archaic civilizations, organic matter in varying states of decay, elements of the quotidian, the utilitarian, the exotic and the occult constitute the carefully-constructed totems. Without conferring a specific history, the objects summoned together within each image create rather than re-create narratives. Sells’s arrangements become less a document of an actual place, and more an allegory of her relationships to those places.
Each of the works is a unique analogue C-type print, handmade by Sells, using conventional negatives overlaid with colour and patterns in the darkroom, subverting the tradition of the meticulously created tableaux. The darkroom process itself is physical, dynamic and time-consuming, constituting a further mapping of the journey. The artifice created through unusual colour and warped light is used to heighten tension between the familiar and the exotic. Image fragments and oddly cut prints have been sketched and painted upon so that each outcome is unique.
Born in Aspen, Colorado, Sells began using photography in her artwork in 1993. She graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2000 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, with a major in photography, taking her Masters in Fine Art from Central St. Martins in 2011. She currently lives and works between London and Maun, Botswana.