On the Cover

Ellen Carey Pulls with Mixed & Off-Set Pods, 2010
top • Polaroid 20 X 24 color positive prints • YRGB • 80”H x 22”W (80”H x 88”W overall unframed)
bottom • Polaroid 20 X 24 color negatives prints • GBRY • 80”H x 22”W each (80”H x 88”W overall unframed)
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
All images contained in this publication are copyright © protected by Ellen Carey.
Used with permission of the artist.
January 9 – February 20, 2014
Let There Be Light:
The Black Swans of Ellen Carey
When ve Iook al arl, ve lry lo hnd a conneclion lo il. We go
lhrough a series of inlernaI inquiries based on images ¡Ianled in our
minds from lhe very hrsl lime ve ¡icked u¡ a crayon as smaII chiI!
dren. We have been moIded by our leachings lhrough lime lo make
carefuI seIeclions lhal aIign vilh videIy acce¡led sociaI and cuIluraI
|uslihcalions. LIIen Carey brings us back lo lhal ¡re-moIded |unclure
¡rior lo lhe ¡rogression of conce¡ls derived from olhers. Wnci ij |
!cn´i ´ccmp|cic" inc prcccss? Wnci ij inc prcccss iisc|j is inc cn! ic inc
mccn? Carey ex¡Iores lhe darkroom in a manner in such o¡¡osilion
lo lradilionaI ¡hologra¡hy lhal her sludio shouId be referred lo as
a Iighl room. She manages lo conce¡luaIize lvo of lhe lhings ve
need lo survive in lhis vorId, dark and Iighl, lo bring forlh slriking
imagery lhal breaks dovn lhe menlaI barriers ve have come lo
acce¡l over lime.
From the Artist
Queslions frequenlIy asked aboul my vork incIude: ¨Hov is
lhis ¡iclure made`¨ foIIoved by ¨Whal is lhis a ¡iclure of`¨ The hrsl
queslion addresses ¡hologra¡hy as ¡rocess. The ¡hologra¡hic ob|ecl
oflen invoIves an inlerseclion of ¡rocess and invenlion, as does lhe
¡raclice of ¡hologra¡hy ilseIf. In lradilionaI ¡hologra¡hy, bolh lhe
¡rocess and lhe invenlion are ¨lrans¡arenl,¨ mere means lo an end.
In my vork lhe ¡rocess |cccmcs lhe sub|ecl. The second queslion
addresses lhe conundrum of a ¡hologra¡hic image uiincui a ¡iclure
or a ¨sign¨ lo read. These lvo queslions chaIIenge our cuIluraI and
hisloricaIIy ¡rescribed ex¡eclalions for lhis medium lo narrale and
documenl, aII vhiIe reveaIing no lrace of ils ovn origins, lhe ¨zero¨
in my ¡raclice has muIli¡Ie meanings.
The discovery of my !"## in 1996 inlroduced !$%&%'()*$+
-.'(.. /.(%. Il refers lo ¨Wriling Degree Zero¨ by RoIand ßarlhes,
vhich oßers a crilicaI discourse on lhe de¡arlure from a descri¡live
narralive in Irench avanl-garde Iileralure. In reIaled fashion, my
vork re¡resenls lhe absence of a ¡iclure ¨sign¨ found in Iandsca¡es,
¡orlrails and sliII Iife. Inslead, my vork consisls of an image made
vilhoul a sub|ecl, any reference lo a ¡Iace, ¡erson or ob|ecl.
My arl vorks conlain as¡ecls lhal are conce¡luaIIy Iinked and
informed lhrough visuaI characlerislics, such as lhe shadov and
siIhouelle image seen in lhe ob|ecl as a negalive, referencing lhis
rich hislory. IormaI issues of size and scaIe, in landem vilh ¡aIelle,
creale visuaI im¡acl. The conlenl-Iaden as¡ecls of my vork are
veighed in, lheir echo is embedded and reaIized in my choices
of melhod and maleriaI, an acknovIedgmenl lhal lhese conlain
symboIs and signs, vhich creale and exlend my arl's meaning.
VisuaI slruclures and lhe ubiquilous codes of lhe circIe (camera
Iens) and square (camera body) underscore my choice lo ¡raclice
¡hologra¡hy, my images acl as mirrors and mela¡hors, lheir echo is
limeIess, found in my com¡osilions. IaraIIeI vork em¡hasizes cc|cr"
lhal il has ¡ur¡ose and exisls for a reason. }oyfuI feeIings of crealiv!
ily reßecl a disci¡Iine vhere I dig dee¡er inlo coIor's molher Iode,
revisiling lradilionaI lerms, Iike ¨coIor ¡rocessing,¨ in nev vays.
CoIor is sub|ecl cn! ob|ecl, maleriaI uiin meaning, ¡rocess uiinin
lhe arl. This gives my vork conlexl in lhe reIaliveIy shorl hislory of
coIor ¡hologra¡hy.
As mela¡hor for lhe heId, image;meaning maker, beginning
vilh lhe ¡hologram vherein ob|ecl;¡a¡er is IileraIIy;hguraliveIy
0&("12 3+ 45'$& (1992-2O13), lhis names my darkroom ¡raclice.
IoIaroid's ¡hrase ¨See Whal DeveIo¡s¨ ¡araIIeIs my vork (197Os
lo ¡resenl), lhe discovery of my !"##6 creales anolher ¡raclice
!$%&%'()*$+ -.'(.. /.(% (1996-2O13). MonumenlaI ¡holograms
Dings c Snc!cus ¨bIov-u¡¨ forms using coIor lheory, lhe con!
lenl-Iaden ¨shadov¨ ¡arlners lhe ¨ding,¨ a ¡hologra¡hic laboo.
$% &'( !rcuing uiin |igni Ieads lo my Man Ray discovery (2OO8),
adding subslance and de¡lh lo my arlislic endeavors lhal co-exisl
vilh schoIarshi¡, research and vriling under my ¡raclice as !51&"6
7 8(5& (2OO8-2O13).
LIIen Carey (b.1952 ISA) is an educalor, inde¡endenl schoIar,
guesl curalor, ¡hologra¡her and Iens-based arlisl, vhose vork
uses lhe Iarge-formal IoIaroid 2O X 24 camera (one of hve) lo creale
)*+ '*,,!-(&'( !"##6 and sile-s¡ecihc inslaIIalions vilh a ¡araIIeI
¡raclice in lhe camera-Iess ¡hologram. Her IoIaroid ¡raclice is !$%9
&%'()*$+ -.'(.. /.(% (1996-2O13) and 0&("12 3+ 45'$& (1992-2O13)
hnds lhe ¡hologram, !51&"6 7 8(5& (2OO8-2O13) names her schoIar!
shi¡ and vriling.
Her vork has been lhe sub|ecl of 5O one-¡erson exhibilions
in museums, aIlernalive s¡aces, gaIIeries (1978-2O13) incIuding
The Wadsvorlh Alheneum Museum of Arl (Malrix-153), ReaI Arl
Ways, Lyman AIIyn Arl Museum, Sainl }ose¡h Iniversily, ICI;NY
(mid-career survey) and hundreds of grou¡ exhibilions (1974-2O14)
in muIli¡Ie venues: museums (Smilhsonian), aIlernalive s¡aces
(HaIIWaIIs), gaIIeries (LmmanueI Ierrolin) and non-¡rohl (A¡er!
lure). An exlensive bibIiogra¡hy incIudes revievs;essays;arlicIes,
brochures;calaIogs;books, granl highIighls- NLA, CAIS, IoIaroid-
inlervievs on TV (Nulmeg), radio (WNIR), video (A¡erlure) she
has documenlary videos !"##6 and :%"(;5;' 8)## lo her credil.
Her arlvorks are in lhe ¡ermanenl coIIeclions of more lhan
2O ma|or ¡hologra¡hy and arl museums: The AIbrighl-Knox Arl
GaIIery (AKAG), George Laslman House, Museum al The Chicago
Arls Inslilule, Iogg Museum al Harvard Iniversily, Los AngeIes
Counly Museum of Arl (LACMA), Melro¡oIilan Museum of Arl,
Nev ßrilain Museum of American Arl (NßMAA), Smilhsonian
American Arl Museum (SAAM), Whilney Museum of Arl, Wad!
svorlh Alheneum Museum of Arl, YaIe Iniversily Arl GaIIery,
cor¡orale: ßanana Re¡ubIic, Dov }ones, ¡rivale: LeWill Ioundalion,
Linda Cheverlon-Wick;WaIler Wick, Nancy;Robinson Grover,
books: ¨The IoIaroid CoIIeclions¨ (Taschen), ¨A Cenlury of CoIour:
Irom lhe Aulochrome lo lhe DigilaI¨ by IameIa Roberls (CarIlon
ßooks, Lld, London), ¨Innocenl Lye: A Iassionale Look al Conlem!
¡orary Arl¨ by Ialricia Rosoß (Tu¡eIo Iress), ¨The IoIaroid Years:
Inslanl Ihologra¡hy and Lx¡erimenlalion¨ by Mary-Kay Lombino,
grou¡ exhibil;lour (IresleI IubIishing), ¨CoIor: American ¡ho!
logra¡hy lransformed¨ by }ohn Rohrbach, Amon Carler Museum
of American Arl (Iniversily of Texas Iress), ¨The Ldge of Vision:
The Rise of Abslraclion in Ihologra¡hy¨ by LyIe Rexer (A¡erlure),
grou¡ exhibil;lour (2OO9-14), he slales:
!"##$% '()$* +, (-.%/ 01+, 2.3%0)*4, -.,0
2.--+00$5 $67$)+-$%0(# 71.0./)(71$),89
Ior her vriling ¡raclice !51&"6 7 8(5&< Carey's hrsl essay ÷
=%#%( :. >.)# ÷ for ¨SoI LeWill: 1OO Vievs,¨ his MASS MoCA relro!
s¡eclive, vas ¡ubIished by YaIe Iniversily Iress (2OO9). Her discov!
ery of Man Ray's ¨hidden¨ signalure in his seIf-¡orlrail ¡hologra¡h
0*)1. 8(5&5;'6 (1935) hnds her (75O) second (2OO9) essay ÷ ¨Whal's
in a Irame` The 'S¡ace Wrilings' of Man Ray¨ ÷ ciled in ¨AIias Man
Ray: The Arl of Reinvenlion,¨ The }evish Museum book;exhibil.
ÒnIine: The Smilhsonian (vvv.smilhsoniam.org), Kansas Cily Arl
Inslilule AIumni Nevs, in ¡rinl are Carey inlerviev by Kryslian von
S¡eideI in VLNI magazine, ¨Man in lhe Mirror,¨ Carey's revised
essay (25O) as ¨Al IIay vilh Man Ray¨ (A¡erlure -2O4, 2O11),
GoogIe: Man Ray Discovery;LIIen Carey. ¨In HamIel's Shadov¨ for
¨The IoIaroid Years: Inslanl Ihologra¡hy and Lx¡erimenlalion¨
¡ubIishes Carey's lhird essay (IresleI IubIishing) for exhibilion;
lour as Norlon Museum of Arl hrsl o¡ening al Vassar CoIIege in
The Irances Lehman Loeb Arl Cenler, Mary-Kay Lombino, curalor
LIIen Carey (1983-2O14) is Associale Irofessor of Ihologra!
¡hy-Harlford Arl SchooI-Iniversily of Harlford (vvv.harlfordarl!
schooI.org) -HAS;IH Coßn Granl (199O &1991), ßenl Avard for
Crealivily (199O). Visiling arlisl al ßard CoIIege (1995), Loughbor!
ough Iniversily, IK (1999), ICI;NY (1981-83): Queens CoIIege
(198O), ¡aneIs: Abslraclion v; LyIe Rexer (SIL 2OO2), ¨ßack lo lhe
Iulure: The Avanl-Garde Is an Address¨ for AKAG, Carey Iec!
lures videIy (1978-2O13), MIA Ihologra¡hy (1976-78) from Slale
Iniversily of Nev York al ßußaIo (SINY©ßußaIo), minor: arl hislo!
ry-museum sludies (AKAG), ßIA (1971-75) Kansas Cily Arl Inslilule
(KCAI), Arls Sludenl's League (197O). vvv.2OX24sludio.com, vvv.
eIIencarey.nel, vvv.a¡erlure.org, GoogIe, }ayne H. ßaum GaIIery:
info©|hbgaIIery.com, Nina Iruedenheim GaIIery (ßußaIo) ninagaI!
Iery©aoI.com, }ose¡h ßeIIovs GaIIery, La }oIIa info©|ose¡hbeIIovs.
com or ecarey©harlford.edu.
Carey Iived in Nev York Cily (1979-94) vhere she vas born
(1952), moving lhere afler receiving her MIA and a CAIS granl, hrsl
exhibiling al IS 1 in ¨The AIlered Image.¨ Her chiIdhood years vere
in Nev York, Chicago, AlIanla and Nev }ersey: Ialer lraveIIing in
America (Soulh, Soulhvesl, Midvesl, Wesl), MiddIe Lasl (Kuvail),
Luro¡e (Iaris, Ldinburgh, DusseIdorf, CoIogne, DubIin, London,
Nice, Venice), vilh an inleresl in arl vorId deslinalions (Dia: ßeacon,
The Chinali and }udd Ioundalions, Marfa, TX) and lo cilies for lheir
LIIen Carey Iives and vorks in Harlford and Nev York. She
vorks on her ¡holograms al }&M Imagevorks and her !"##6 ./
lhe IoIaroid 2O X 24 Sludio (vvv.2OX24sludio.com), her sludio is
lhe hisloric (1926) Indervood Ty¡evriler Iaclory in lhe IarkviIIe
seclion of Harlford. Her vebsile is vvv.eIIencarey.nel (being
u¡daled) and can be seen GoogIe, vvv.2OX24sludio.com, or vvv.
a¡erlure.org. Her arlvorks are re¡resenled by }ayne H. ßaum al
info©|hbgaIIery.com, Nina Ireudenheim GaIIery, ßußaIo (NY),
}ose¡h ßeIIovs GaIIery (LA }oIIa, CA).
1 2
3 4
Ellen Carey Object Description for Artworks #1–4:
Ia¡er ¡hologra¡hy, discovered in 1834 by lhe ßrilish invenlor,
WiIIiam Henry Iox TaIbol (18OO-1877), and iniliaIIy caIIed ¨¡holo!
genic draving¨ or ¨sun ¡iclures,¨ evenluaIIy became lhe ¨¡holo!
gram.¨ The vord '¡hologra¡hy' derives from lhe Greek " &+
Iighl, and grcpncin, lo vrile. The Irish name LIIen, vilh CeIlic rools
in GaeIic means ¨bringer of Iighl.¨
Carey imaginaliveIy revisils lhese lerms in her series
:1.0./$%+2 ;)(<+%/,. Lines of Iighl ÷ deIicale lo boId ÷ creale
Ellen Carey Photogenic Drawing, 1999
black and white photogram, hand toned, unique
20”H x 16”W [30”H x 26”W framed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Photogenic Drawing, 1999
black and white photogram, hand toned, unique
20”H x 16”W [30”H x 26”W framed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Photogenic Drawing, 1999
black and white photogram, hand toned, unique
20”H x 16”W [30”H x 26”W framed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Penlight, 1999
black and white photogram, hand toned, unique
24”H x 20”W [34”H x 30”W framed]
Collection of the artist,
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
sinuous, amor¡hous forms, bolh organic and suggeslive. ßy
adding a Iayer of com¡Iexily in her hand-loning, she seIecliveIy
inlroduces a ¡aIelle al once seduclive and surreaIislic. Her cris¡ aII
bIack :$%#+/10, echoing lhe SurreaIisls' game of cuicmciic !rcuing"
viII Iead Carey lo her Man Ray discovery. These images conslilule a
more robusl invesligalion inlo abslraclion vhiIe marking an end lo
Carey's bIack;vhile darkroom ¡rinling as she lurned nexl lo coIor.
Ellen Carey Ray Bands, 2003
color photogram • triptych • R/G/B • 20”H x 16”W each [29.5”H x 58.5”W framed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Neo-Ops, 2003
color photogram • triptych • RC/GM/BY • 24”H x 20”W each [34”H x 70”W framed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Ray Bands, 2003
color photogram • triptych • Y/M/C • 20”H x 16”W each [29.5”H x 58.5”W framed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Object Description for
Artworks #5–7:
In 2OOO Carey's research on lhe hislory of coIor ¡hologra¡hy
began vilh TaIbol's conlem¡orary, Anna Alkins (1799-1871), lhe
hrsl voman ¡hologra¡her and lhe hrsl voman lo use coIor, a
Irussian bIue, from lhe cyanoly¡e ¡rocess invenled by Sir }ohn
HerscheI. Alkins' bolanicaI sludies embedded lhis bIue inlo
lhe ¡hologram or ¨sun ¡iclure,¨ as il vas aIso knovn, lhereby
inlegraling lvo se¡arale ¡rocesses lhal vouId evenluaIIy inform
Carey's ovn coIor ¡hologram ¡rinling.
Ior Carey, an Alkins cyanoly¡e served as a ¡recursor lo
minimaI and abslracl imagery in ils reduclive com¡osilion and
so¡hislicaled ¡Iacemenl vis-à-vis oß-frame s¡ace. Òlher obser!
valions incIude visuaI im¡acl, underscored lhrough Alkins' ßuid
and deIicale vriling and cursive geslures, naming her bolanicaI
sludies. This ¡Iaces her vork al lhe forefronl of conce¡luaI
¨vord arl¨ and Iine-as-o¡en form, seen in }ackson IoIIock's
Carey's crealive endeavors oflen begin vilh a queslion:
¨Whal does a 21sl cenlury abslracl and;or minimaI coIor
¡hologram Iook Iike`¨ She res¡onds vilh lhe =(* >(%5, and
?$.@A7, in vhich Iighl and coIor= inlersecl lhrough verlicaI Iine
and gIoving aflerimage. The brighl ¡aIelle ex¡resses characler!
islics s¡ecihc lo lhe medium lhrough ¡hologra¡hic coIor lheory.
Her saluraled hues of hard-edged geomelries ¡o¡ oul vilh a
sofl-edged briIIiance lhal highIighls lhese ¡risline, one of a kind
Ellen Carey Dings & Shadows, 2012
color photograms • hexaptych • R/G/B/Y/M/C • 40”H x 30”W each [40”H x 180”W overall]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
abslracl com¡osilions exisl vilhin a ¡aIelle lhal maximizes ¡ho!
logra¡hic lheory. Surfaces made lense and dense vilh visceraI in!
lervenlions ca¡lure ¨shadovs¨ from lhe ¨dings.¨ Dramalic forms
doubIe lhe muIli¡Ie lvisls and lurns of lhe arlisl in lhe darkroom.
CoIors faII randomIy and in chance encounlers as unex¡ecled
conneclions emerge in ¡IayfuI and overIa¡¡ing ex¡osures on lhe
¡hysicaI ob|ecl ¡Iane of coIor ¡a¡er ,0)32B C* #+/108
Carey's ¡aIelle acls as bolh formuIa for coIor lheory and
lhe name of her 0&("12 3+ 45'$& ¡raclice. This ¨Iighl draving¨
inlroduces de¡lh as Carey's ¡enIighl slrikes lhe ¨dings¨ lo make
dark ¨shadovs.¨ The ¨ding¨ aIso announces lhe hislory of lhe
shadov. Ils crescenl sha¡e, lhough laboo in a lradilionaI ¡rinl,
is visceraIIy and visuaIIy exaggeraled, bIovn u¡ in lhe arlisl's
hands as Carey's ¨shadov calcher.¨
She is a coIorisl, bringing oul visuaI sensalion in hues as
innovalive as lhey are slrange. Non-Iinear and non-re¡resenla!
lionaI as lhey are, biomor¡hic and anlhro¡omor¡hic faces and
hgures are sublIy suggesled ÷ famiIiar yel aIien, beaulifuI and
grolesque ÷ as lhey bIend lhe fuII range of Iighl vilh dark.
Ellen Carey Object Description for Artworks #8:
Hislory hnds lhe ¡hologram beIonging lo TaIbol, and his
¨sun ¡iclures¨ in coIor ÷ lhe cyanoly¡e ÷ beIonging lo Alkins.
Sir }ohn HerscheI, friend lo TaIbol and Alkins, invenled lhe
cyanoly¡e melhod ¡Ius lhe chemislry needed lo hx a ¨shadov.¨
LIIen Carey's 0&("12 3+ 45'$& ¡raclice lraces a lra|eclory from
lhis davn of ¡hologra¡hy lhrough Man Ray and MohoIy-Nagy,
lo currenl ¡iclures by Susan Derges, Adam Iuss, }ames WeIIing,
Chris McCav, Chrislian MarcIay and Ryan McGinIey, lo name
a fev.
A ¡hologram is made vilhoul a camera. CoIor darkroom
¡rinling, ¡a¡er and ¡rocess, are exlraordinariIy Iighl-sensilive,
dißerenl from ils Iov-Iighl counler¡arl in bIack and vhile. LIIen
Carey underslands her slruggIe vilh darkness in lhe vords of
¡hiIoso¡her Marlin ßuber (1878-1965): ¨Lvery |ourney has a
secrel deslinalion of vhich lhe lraveIer is unavare.¨
Carey's ;+%/, D E1(5.<,, a suile of six monumenlaI ¡ho!
lograms in vhich maleriaIs as veII as coIors lake on meaning,
are fresh inler¡relalions ¡arlnered vilh freevheeIing ex¡eri!
menls unlelhered by ruIes, formaI slruclures or convenlionaI
¡rocedures. These giganlic ¡iclures in boId coIors and ex¡ressive
Ellen Carey Pulls with Mixed & Off-Set Pods, 2010
Polaroid color negative/positive prints • octaptych • neg. R/neg. Y/pos. Y/pos. R/pos. B/pos. G/neg. G/neg. B • 80”H x 22”W each
[80”H x 176”W unframed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Object Description for Artworks #9:
Inslanl lechnoIogy and IoIaroid mel abslraclion and minimaIism
in 1996 vilh LIIen Carey's breaklhrough discovery !"##. Her name
for lhis convergence in her nev ¡raclice became !$%&%'()*$+ -.'(..
/.(%F a reference lo Irench ¡hiIoso¡her RoIand ßarlhes's ¨Wriling
Degree Zero¨ from crilicaI discourse on lhe de¡arlure of descri¡live
narralive in Irench avanl-garde Iileralure. In reIaled fashion, Carey's
arl re¡resenls a shifl from ¡iclure and sign duaIily found in lhe sliII
Iife, Iandsca¡e and ¡orlrail. Inslead, her !"##6 are ¡hologra¡hic
images, made vilhoul a sub|ecl and vilhoul reference lo any ob|ecl,
¡Iace or ¡erson, and ¡rocessed in a mere 6O seconds.
PuIIs ulth Mlxed S Og-Set Pods records a dißerenl documenl
lhrough chemislry and coIor. Òrganic and ßuid in form and Iine, vilh
¡allerns reminiscenl of vood, moiró or ¡hologra¡hic ¨Nevlon rings,¨
her invenlive, em¡halic ¡aIelle oßers a range from brighl lo sublIe.
Dark irreguIar sha¡es ßoal lhrough lhe verlicaI :3##, and a horizonlaI
Iine decIares a break vilh or vilhoul, ex¡osure or Iighl, and coIor or
!$%&%'()*$+ -.'(.. /.(% meanings muIli¡Iy as lilIes of her soIo
exhibilions vilh conlexl added lo conlenl. The ¡hrase conce¡luaIIy
mirrors a ¡hologra¡hic a¡oria and visuaI ¡aradox hrsl seen in LIIen
Carey's ¡ioneering Iens-based arl for vhich she uses lhe Iarge-formal
IoIaroid 2O X 24 camera Iocaled in Nev York, one of hve in lhe vorId,
and renovn for ex¡anding our ¡iclure cuIlure, aIso seen in lhe vork of
WiIIiam Wegman and Chuck CIose. Carey, loo, is a ¨IoIaroid arlisl.¨
Iigni 1igni aIIudes lo lhe lolaIIy bIack environmenl required
for coIor darkroom ¡rinling. The nimbIe, Iighl-hngered nalure of
vorking quickIy is echoed in Carey's accounl of ¨draving vilh
Iighl,¨ lhe Viclorian ¡hrase for ¡hologra¡hy. These varm amber,
honey-hued coIors vhis¡er and vhisk lhrough lhe com¡osilion. Ils
shiny melaIIic, Iighl goId ground, a nev ¡a¡er al lhal lime, su¡¡orls
lhe Iighl-hearled, airy meshes of conlour and Iine.
Carey ex¡erimenls vilh and eslabIishes many Iinkages among
end resuIls and lheir sleIIar com¡osilions, incIusive of a diverse,
broad ¡aIelle lhal underscores and highIighls her abslracl, minimaI
vork. Taken coIIecliveIy, lhese visuaI allribules aIIov lhe hnaI ob|ecl
lo ¨s¡eak.¨
Ellen Carey Object Description for
Artworks #10–11:
0&("12 3+ 45'$& is LIIen Carey's ¡hologram ¡raclice of ¡Ienli!
fuI, slriking characlerislics: a ¡aIelle reduclive in bIack and vhile,
and herceIy boId in coIor, an invesligalion inlo lhe bioIogy of seeing
cou¡Ied vilh imaginalive, huge scaIe arlvorks, coIor lheory highIighl!
ed as sub|ecl and ob|ecl, and ob|ecls eilher ¡Iaced on ¡a¡er or Iighl
lhal slrikes ¡a¡er, used in originaI, unorlhodox vays.
Her conce¡ls and images begin vilh Iighl ÷ ils ¡resence, absence
or haIf Iife ÷ acknovIedge il as lhe ¡rimary agenl in aII ¡hologra¡hy,
being bolh indexicaI and ¡rima facie. Lighl informs aII her vork, oflen
in landem vilh universaI lhemes such as |oy and mourning. Il under!
scores lhese slales vilh brighl coIor, shadov image, or lhe ¡hysicaI
¡osilive and;or negalive ¡rinl as mela¡hor and ¡iclure sign.
Ellen Carey Light Tight, 2006
color photogram, (c-print on metallic paper)
24”H x 20”W [33”H x 29”W framed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Light Tight, 2006
color photogram, (c-print on metallic paper)
24”H x 20”W [33”H x 29”W framed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Dings & Shadows, 2013
color photograms, split flters º pentaptych º RG/GB/BY/YM/MC º 24"H x 20"W [24"H x 101"W overall|
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Object Description for Artworks #12:
LIIen Carey is a keen observer of change ex¡ressed in lhe skies,
vealher and seasons, in varielies of coIor as rainbov or ßover, and
form as lrees or cIouds. Arlisls aIso ins¡ire her ÷ lhose vho use
Iighl (}ames TureII), coIor and form (Lynda ßengIis), lhe minimaI lo
geomelric (DonaId }udd), combine lhe Iess-is-more aeslhelic lhrough
invenlive use of size and scaIe (SoI LeWill), and enrich arl vilh nev
meaning lhrough non-lradilionaI arl maleriaIs (Dan IIavin).
Carey's soIe focus on Iighl Ied her lo lhe coIor enIarger, an unusuaI
looI for ins¡iralion. Her aim lo lurn u¡ lhe visuaI voIume in inlensily,
saluralion, hue and o¡acily in ¡holograms vas reaIized in lhe Iinear
¡rogression of ¨s¡Iil hIlers¨ organized around ¡hologra¡hic coIor
lheory in her nevesl version of ;+%/, D E1(5.<,. Tvo coIors in one
com¡osilion shov seIecliveIy smoolh surfaces lhal are anguIar, ßal
and geomelric. Lx¡ansive and minimaI areas, ¡inched here and
lhere, go inlo oß-frame s¡ace, crealing a mesa of abslraclion. CoIors,
neon-brighl, coIIide, asking: ¨AII lhis, from an enIarger`¨
KaIeidosco¡ic, high im¡acl images of form and feeIing charge forlh,
rendered in misly, seamIess ex¡Ioralions lhal surge, bounce and rico!
chel around and oß one anolher. CoIors faII randomIy and in chance
encounlers, unex¡ecled conneclions emerge in ¡IayfuI and overIa¡¡ing
ex¡osures ÷ lhe ¡a¡er is ,0)32B C* #+/10. LIIen Carey's maslerfuI skiIIs
in her crafl, and her degree of iconocIaslic so¡hislicalion, reinvenl and
ceIebrale lhe coIor vheeI, lo be found onIy in ¡hologra¡hy.
Ellen Carey Multichrome Monochromes, 2008
top • Polaroid color positive prints • 34”H x 22”W each • [34”H x 88”W overall unframed]
bottom • Polaroid color negative prints • 34”H x 22”W each • [34”H x 88”W overall unframed]
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Object Description for Artworks #13:
Ior LIIen Carey, lhe use of coIor evoIved inlo an even brighler,
bigger and boIder ¨bIov-u¡.¨ Revisiling a lechnique in coIor hIm and
chemislry knovn as ¨cross-¡rocessing,¨ lhis arlisl vho ¡ainls vilh
Iighl uses lhe IoIaroid ¡ods-as-lubes. Her ¡aIelle digs dee¡er inlo
coIor's molher Iode, borroving ideas from lradilionaI ¡hologra¡hic
lerms. To each change in IoIaroid, Carey res¡onds.
G3#0+21).-$ G.%.21).-$, ¡resenl her crealive soIulion lo lhis
chaIIenge hidden in lhe enveIo¡es of chemislry knovn as IoIaroid
¨¡ods.¨ Her innovalion hnds lhe cIassic IoIaroid 2O X 24 reclangIe,
seen in a series of gIossy ÷ yeIIov, red, green, bIue ÷ symmelricaI
ex¡osures in Iarge, unique bIocks. The lo¡ hnds lhe signalure IoIa!
roid-sha¡ed ¨luIi¡s,¨ lhe bollom forms lhe lhick band, and each are
edged in bIack. The sides shov lhinner reIics of lhe camera's roIIers,
framing lhe IoIaroid inslanl ¡rocess.
Lach ¡osilive ¡iclure conlains asymmelricaI, slilch-Iike forms,
unex¡ecled and slrialed. A singIe coIor shovs lvo gIossy surface
versions: one is duII grey and mirrored by ils su¡er-sIick counler¡arl.
These smoolh areas change lo a ¡or¡hyrilic sIice of non-gIare malle.
IoIaroid negalives hang beIov lheir ¡osilives, lhe lar-Iike ¡alinas
gone dee¡er inlo varialions of coIor, form, lexlure, surface and inven!
lion. LIIen Carey oflen exhibils lhe one-of-a-kind ¡osilives vilh lheir
negalives, giving equaI slalus lo bolh, and lhe onIy IoIaroid arlisl lo
do so.
Ellen Carey A Ding & A Shadow, 2010
color photogram • 40”H x 30”W
Collection of the artist
Courtesy of Jayne H. Baum Gallery New York, NY
Ellen Carey Object Description for Artwork #14:
Inknovn lo Carey al lhe lime she vas making lhis over-sized
coIor ¡hologram, and againsl lhe backdro¡ of lhese brighlIy hued
¡assages and ex¡ressive marks, vas lhe ha¡¡y arl accidenl of a Ione
¨ding.¨ ImmedialeIy recognized as a ¡olenliaI source for fulure vork,
il vas a much-needed slimuIus for her. Wilh crescenl sha¡e minimaI
and eIeganl, ils li¡ echoed lhe conicaI Ioo¡ of her !"##6.
The ¨ding¨ is lradilionaIIy discarded as an un¡rofessionaI ¡ho!
logra¡hic laboo, a mislake lhal vioIales lhe ¡risline ruIes of ¡rinling.
Ior Carey, il vas a brealh of fresh visuaIized air. She vas siruc| |q
|igni ÷ ins¡ired ÷ IileraIIy and hguraliveIy. The ¨dings¨ vere ¡erfecl
¨shadov calchers¨ for her ¡rocess, coIor, and abslraclion as evidenced
lhrough lhe breaklhrough Iarge ¡hologram, H ;+%/ D H E1(5.<.
LIIen Carey, lhe camera-Iess o¡eralor vho dances free and aIone
inside lhe coIor darkroom, enIarges lhal unique, limeIess bIaze ve
knov as lhe imaginalion. In revisiling a 19lh cenlury vinlage melhod
vilh onIy Iighl from enIarger Iens lo ¡enIighl ¡oinls, lhis 21sl cenlury
American arlisl creales nev documenls of dramalic and enduring
LIIen Carey, vilh or vilhoul a camera, ¡uIIs and ¡ho!
lograms a visuaI rainbov of ¡oelic reaIilies from a ¡rimaI
darkness lhal dreams lhe nexl momenl. Her abslracl and
minimaI ¡iclures range from high im¡acl and fuIIy saluraled
lo reslrained, quieler or iridescenl coIors and forms lhal
she ¡Iucks from random encounlers in lhe chaolic ßux of
becoming, lhen organizes, and ¡Iaces in molion by any
variely of decisions she viII make. Her ex¡erience, agiIe,
muscuIar briIIiance and energy coIIaborale vilh lhe un¡re!
diclabIe or ca¡ricious facl of lhe image, lhal is, somelhing
nev. Her vork is un¡recedenled in ¡hologra¡hy ÷ a bIack
svan ¡henomenon.
In 1996 LIIen Carey ado¡led lhe lerm Pu||s lo describe
lhe Iess is more lvin axis of her eIemenlaI ¡osilive and
negalive images ÷ lhose brighl slars of Gemini, Caslor and
lhal she ¡uIIed oul from lhe roIIers of lhe IoIaroid
2O X 24 Iarge formal camera, seen for lhe hrsl lime in lhe
di¡lych Wniic Pu|| / B|cc| Pu||. Wilh her originaI idea she
inlroduced a unique, visuaI form in bolh her Iens-based arl
and ¡hologra¡hy, lhal of lhe ¡araboIa. "The Concise Òxford
LngIish Diclionary" slales lhal lhe ¡araboIa is a symmelricaI
o¡en ¡Iane curve formed by lhe inlerseclion of a cone vilh
a ¡Iane ¡araIIeI lo ils side. In nalure il occurs in lhe sha¡es
of eIongaled ¡ine cones and lhe shadov ¡orlion of lhe
crescenl moon al ecIi¡se. Laurence I. GouId, a ¡rofessor of
¡hysics and Carey's coIIeague, vrole her lhe foIIoving in an
e-maiI: ¨. . . cerlain comels couId lraveI in ¡araboIas if lhey
have lhe righl lolaI energy ÷ coming inlo our soIar syslem
and lhen Ieaving . . . never lo relurn.¨ In Carey's Pu||s il
becomes an arl form nev lo ¡hologra¡hy and is ex¡ressed
in a conicaI bIack Ioo¡ knovn as lhe hy¡erboIa. Since 1996
Carey has caIIed her radicaI a¡¡roach, Pncicgrcpnq Dcgrcc
afler Irench semioIogisl RoIand ßarlhes's (1915 ÷ 198O)
book, "Wriling Degree Zero" (1953), in vhich she u¡ends
lhe ¡hologra¡h as sign ÷ lhe sna¡s and famiIy ¡orlrails
slanding in for memory and desire ÷ originaIIy reaIized in
her series, |cmi|q Pcrircii.
The sudden, unex¡ecled dealh of her brolher from an
accidenl came al a lime vhen her beIoved molher vas
lerminaIIy iII. She died shorlIy aflervard. Carey's marriage
soon ended foIIoving lhese lvin dealhs. Any reIiabIe sem!
bIance of a normaI, everyday vorId coIIa¡sed. The gravilas
of such Iife-changing Iosses, so shallering as lhey unfoIded,
resounded in Carey's mind vilh lhe Irench exislenliaIism of
¡hiIoso¡her }ean-IauI Sarlre's (19O5-8O) lrealise, "ßeing and
Nolhingness" (1943) and his ¡Iay, "No Lxil" (1944), in vhich
heII exisls lhroughoul Iifelimes lhal do nol make sense,
yel one musl lake lhe res¡onsibiIily lo Iive anyvay, and,
Iikevise vilh American ¡Iayvrighl and hIm direclor David
Mamel's (b. 1947) hIm, "House of Games" (1987), vhich
ricochels oß Shakes¡eare's dramalic device of lhe ¡Iay
vilhin a ¡Iay, in a Iayered, eIaborale series of dece¡lions
vilhin dece¡lions, vhiIe dovelaiIing vilh Iileralure's cenlraI
lheme of a¡¡earance versus reaIily.
Carey reaIized lhal lhe medium of ¡hologra¡hy, generaIIy
¡resumed lo re¡resenl vhal is reaI, aIso couId shov hov
lhings are nol aIvays vhal lhey seem. Conlradiclion Iay al
lhe cenler of her ex¡erience: lo undersland Iife lhrough a
Iens of a¡¡earance and reaIily is lo assume lhe exislence of
an organizing ¡rinci¡Ie one caIIs reaIily lo dislinguish il from
a¡¡earance, bul Irench exislenliaIism, vhich deveIo¡ed
belveen lhe lvo vorId vars in an allem¡l lo ex¡Iain lhe eviI
of mass vioIence, shovs lhal lhere is no ¡allern or organizing
¡rinci¡Ie in Iife lhal one can caII reaIily. The arlisl vas Iefl
face lo face vilh dealh in Iife vhen lhe lrusled and famiIiar
suddenIy lurned slrange. The American ¡sychoanaIysl and
aulhor Louise }. Ka¡Ian (b. 193O), in her book No Voice Is
Lver WhoIIy Losl (1995) uses Ireud's lheory of lhe uncanny
lo ex¡Iain some of lhe ¡rofound eßecls of Iosing someone, of
being robbed by lhe abru¡l emergence of somelhing usuaIIy
hidden, dark, a shadov coming lo Iighl. The Ioving diaIogue
eslabIished by molher and chiId in lhe deveIo¡menlaI ¡eriod
before s¡eech is vhal makes us ca¡abIe of forming Ioving
reIalionshi¡s lhroughoul our Iives. When dealh reduces lhe
The Black Swans of Ellen Carey: Of Necessary Poetic Realities
Ioved one lo an ob|ecl lhal can onIy slare back, so lo s¡eak,
il becomes im¡eralive lo somehov reeslabIish lhal ca¡acily
for feeIing vhich makes us human. Arl can and does reslore
lhese Iosl diaIogues. Òn a singIe day in Augusl 1996 Carey
made her groundbreaking hrsl ¨IuII¨, Wniic Pu|| / B|cc| Pu||"
and lhe |cmi|q Pcrircii. Thereafler she vouId inscribe her
conce¡l and arlislic ¡raclice, Pncicgrcpnq Dcgrcc Zcrc.
According lo lhe American ¡hiIoso¡her Susanne Langer
(1895-1985) in her 1953 book, "IeeIing and Iorm," arl gives
form lo lhe rav havoc of feeIing and in so doing aIIovs for
Iife lo hII us once again. These ma|or Iosses suslained by
Carey forefronled her visionary breaklhroughs, ex¡onen!
liaIIy ex¡anding her one-of-a-kind arl ¡raclice. They crealed
her consleIIalion of bIack svans ÷ vilaI, ßuid shadovs
of no seIf, lhe bird shadov souI, lhe zero slale ÷ em¡lied
by Ioss, and yel, IileraI negalive markers ¡oinling a vay
forvard lo desire, lhe Iife force, lhe hIIing ecslasy of lhe
erolic, lhe aeslhelic, and lhe mylhic, bIue-skinned Vishnu, a
Iolus arising from his naveI, dreaming lhe elernaI vorId inlo
being. They become a fuIcrum for lhe dislinclive direclion
her vork viII lake for years lo come. In his book, "The
Wound and lhe ßov: Seven Sludies in Lileralure" (1941), lhe
American vriler Ldmund WiIson (1895-1972), re-imagined
lhe Greek IhiIocleles mylh as lhe slory of hov ¡sychoIogicaI
lrauma can be converled lo cIarily of feeIing, insighl and
slrenglh lhrough dedicaled arlislic eßorl. The inimilabIe
Chorus in lhe Greek lragedy, "Agamemnon" (ca. 458 ßCL),
by lhe Greek ¡oel AeschyIus (ca. 525-456 ßCL), caulions us
¨To Iearn lo knov lhrough ¡ain . . . .¨
Carey's idea for lhe Pu||s aIso derived from sludying her
¡hologra¡her-muse, ßrilish invenlor WiIIiam Henry Iox
TaIbol (18OO-77), vho discovered lhe ¡hologram melhod
in 1834 by using onIy maleriaIs of immediacy ÷ emuIsion,
¡a¡er, Iighl, ¡ine needIes, Iace ÷ and vilhoul need of a
camera. She lurned 15O years of ¡hologra¡hy on ils head
by hybridizing lhe idea of lhe camera vilh lhe direclness
of lhe ¡hologram ¡rocess in her use of lhe IoIaroid 2O X
24 camera. Irom her knovIedge of TaIbol's negalive and
¡osilive melhod and lhe Irench invenlor of ¡hologra¡hy,
Louis-}acques-Mandó-Daguerre's daguerreoly¡es of ¡risline
cIarily, vhich inlroduced lhe medium's hy¡erreaI charac!
lerislic, Carey underslood vhal lhe camera couId ¡roduce.
Her use of IoIaroid lo acce¡l com¡IeleIy nev images vilh
ils ovn conlenl-Iaden maleriaIs, vas simiIar yel dißerenl
from lhe hisloricaI ¡hologram and daguerreoly¡e. She made
ob|ecl and sub|ecl simuIlaneous in lhe Pu|| as ¡osilive, oflen
shovn vilh ils negalive. Indißerenl lo lhe lradilionaI (and
mascuIine) roIe of lhe camera as ¡rimary in reIalion lo lhe
secondary sub|ecl (i.e. lhe maIe gaze), she engaged vilh il
as a coIIaboralive equaI, renaming common ¡hologra¡hic
lerms. AII lilIes for lhis vork describe her ¡hysicaI inler!
aclions vilh machine, maleriaI, darkness and Iighl: Pu||s,
Rc|||cc|s, Iijis cn! Drcps, Mu|iicnrcmcs, and Pcn|ignis, vhich
are hung aIone, as ¡airs, lri¡lychs or in grou¡s as inslaIIa!
lions lo underscore her conce¡ls and lhemes.
Carey revisils ¡hologra¡hic lerms vilh fresh innovalion.
0 Pu|| lhal has a doubIe or muIli¡Ie ex¡osure is a Rc|||cc|"
in vhich she manuaIIy ¡uIIs oul and roIIs back hIm, in coIor
she relurns lo cross-¡rocessing brand nev hues from her
chemicaI vand. She ¡ushes ¡hologra¡hic coIor lheory lo lhe
hiIl, in conlrasl vilh TaIbol's sofler, muled ¡aIelle of varm
lones and cooIer aubergines crealed from lhe un¡rediclabIe
LngIish vealher ÷ lhe sunIighl's inlensily on any given day.
In sur¡assing lhe origins of lhe ¡hologra¡h as sign, narra!
live, and ob|ecl, she slri¡¡ed ¡hologra¡hy of hierarchicaI,
gender-coded reIalions of sub|ecl and ob|ecl, generaling
inslead a seIf-referenliaI and nonre¡resenlalionaI slarling
¡oinl. Carey's Pncicgrcpnq Dcgrcc Zcrc is a vhoIe nev vorId
as verb. Slanding cIose u¡ and face-lo-face vilh her radicaI
images ve are hnaIIy com¡eIIed lo ex¡erience ourseIves as
lhe meaning makers, vho coIIaborale vilh lhem as did lhe
arlisl, lo hnd vhal is lhere and nol lhere and lo nolice hov
and vhal ve see.
She references American ¡hologra¡her Garry Winogrand
(1928-84) vhen she slales lhal each Pu|| does nol record
a facl bul creales a nev facl vhich is lhe ¡hologra¡h.

These facls are indeed reaIilies as slriking lo us as lhey are
lhemseIves evidences of lhe momenlary, everyday shadov
vorId ve inhabil, inluil and do nol see unIess ve relain
chiId-Iike eyes and vays of being in lhe vorId by feeIing, by
lhal vhich makes us human. Her ¡hologra¡hs are a slarlIing
counler¡oinl singuIarIy equaI lo NASA's lhriIIing sna¡shol
of Larlh from ils onIy moon. We are ¡uIIed lo lhem as ve are
¡uIIed by lhe myslery of lhe moon, curious, bedazzIed and
iniliaIIy slruggIing lo connecl.
Carey and her ßIack Svans are ¡ossibIe onIy in America.
Their emergence foIIoved severaI deveIo¡menls, beginning
vilh lhe 19lh cenlury dominance in ¡hologra¡hy by TaIbol
and Daguerre, and foIIoved by lhe American Iholo-Se!
cessionisl movemenl
of 19O2, in vhich lhe American
¡hologra¡her AIfred SliegIilz (1864-1946) organized a grou¡
of American avanl-garde ¡hologra¡hers lo break avay from
a more convenlionaI a¡¡roach. In 19OO he and American
¡hologra¡her, I. HoIIand Day (1864-1933) broughl lhe hnesl
vorks overseas lo secure soIid recognilion by lhe arl vorId
for lhese nev '¡hologra¡hy as arl' ¡hologra¡hs, vhich lhey
duIy gained in Iaris and London, lhus eslabIishing a signih!
canl Iink for lhe medium belveen Luro¡e and America.
Wilhin lvo years lhe Iholo-Secessionisl movemenl vas
undervay vilh lhe use of s¡eciaI ¡rinling ¡rocesses invoIv!
ing gum bichromales and ¡Ialinum lhal vere maslered by
lhe American ¡hologra¡her Ldvard Sleichen (1879-1973).
ßy 19O5 ils ¡raclilioners ex¡anded sub|ecl maller lo incIude
cily infraslruclure and archileclure, and vere reguIarIy
exhibiling al 291 Iiflh Avenue in The LillIe GaIIeries of lhe
Iholo-Secession or sim¡Iy 291, in Nev York Cily. Though
lhey disbanded vilhin 1O years, lheir inßuence conlinued
Iong afler, as did lhe ¡rofound im¡acl of lhe inlerim belveen
lhe Iirsl and Second WorId Wars in vhich Luro¡e vas lhe
ca¡ilaI of lhe arl vorId vilh Iaris as ils cenler, yieIding lhe
foIIoving im¡orlanl veslern arl movemenls (vilh some of
lheir re¡resenlalive arlisls): lhe Im¡ressionism of Guslav
CaiIIebolle (1848-94) and CIaude Monel (184O -1926), lhe Sur!
reaIism of Max Lrnsl (1891-1976) and Man Ray (189O-1976),
lhe Dada of MarceI Ducham¡ (1887-1968), and lhe Cubism of
Georges ßraque (1882-1963) and IabIo Iicasso (1881-1973).
The IoIaroid camera, hovever, vas an American invenlion,
and afler lhe Second WorId War lhe arl ca¡ilaI shifled lo
Nev York Cily, as Abslracl Lx¡ressionism, via such arlisls as
}ackson IoIIock (1912-56) and Roberl MolherveII (1915-91),
o¡ened u¡ a nev horizon vilhin an American ulo¡ia of
arlislic freedom and crealivily. Carey's achievemenls surface
from lhis backdro¡ as veII as lhe im¡acl of Conce¡luaI Arl,
MinimaIism, and feminism. As a sludenl she inde¡endenlIy
researched vomen arlisls because "}anson's Hislory of Arl"
did nol incIude lhem. The invenlion of ¡hologra¡hy and lhe
sußragisl movemenl vouId change lhal. Women used lhe
daguerreoly¡e for ils surging commerciaI a¡¡Iicalions and
seIf-¡orlrailure sludies. The nev, em¡ly heId heId a ¡romise
of svee¡ing sea changes. This democralic medium incIuded
such vomen ¡hologra¡hers as Anna Alkins (1799-1871),
}uIia Margarel Cameron (1815-79), CIaude CaIhun (1894-
1954) and Americans, Lee MiIIer (19O7-77), Diane Arbus
(1923 -71), and Cindy Sherman (b. 1954).
ßIack Svan Theory,
a¡¡Iied lo Carey's arl-making over
lime, shovs a cascading movemenl and form of invesli!
galion and discovery, beginning in 1995 vilh lhe IoIaroid
¡rocess and Cc|cr 1nccrq
, and reverberaling inlo Pu||s and
|cmi|q Pcrircii. This aclivily ¡araIIeIs lhe funclion of lhe
camera's inlerior mirror a¡¡aralus as one discovery u¡on
anolher successiveIy bounces, shullers, and kaIeidosco¡es
inlo lhe nexl. Lvery four years or so, Carey creales a nev
cIusler of boId, visuaI rainbovs lhal lake yel anolher viev.
The grey card shaIe of lhe Mcurning Wc|| and lhe even more
coIossaI inslaIIalion, Pu||s XI, of burnished brovns and
bIacks consliluling Carey's 2OO4 Wadsvorlh Alheneum
Malrix -153 exhibilion, eru¡l inlo lhe sensale vorId of
Pusn Pins, lhe high saluralion of 1nc Rc! Pncicgrcm, and lhe
inler-rece¡live B|in|s and, I vonder lhal she is aIso shocking
us back lo Iife afler lhe evenls of 9;11. The nexl cascade
comes vilh Pc|crci! Pcn|ignis, her exlraordinary essay, Cc|cr
Mc Rcc|"
on MinimaIisl SoI LeWill (1928-2OO7), lhe Mu|ii-
cnrcmc Pu||s (2OO8) of her cross-halched, fealher-bIended,
chemicaI coIors, and her essay aboul her inslinclive and
¡ivolaI sighling of SurreaIisl Man Ray's ¡enIighl signalure in
reverse in his ¡hologra¡h, Spccc Wriiings, vhich has eIuded
lhe arl vorId since ils crealion in 1935.
Carey brings lo lhe ¡ilch bIack surface of lhe coIor
¡hologra¡hy darkroom her invesligalions inlo arl and
science, incIuding malhemalics, arl hislory and arl brul,

chemislry, o¡lics, ¡sychoanaIysis, semiolics, feminism,
myslicism, lhe seIf. Her looI box is vasl: she mighl drav vilh
a ¡enIighl, rolale a ¡iece of Iighl-sensilive ¡a¡er vilh gIass
marbIes, ¡unclure coIor ¡a¡er vilh melaI ¡ush ¡ins used in
her inslaIIalions, s¡in lhe vhirIigig vheeI of ¡hologra¡hic
coIor lheory, diaIing in sellings on an enIarger, or cross-¡ro!
cess, eilher vay for calegories of ullerIy nev coIors, ex¡ose
and roII back hIm inlo lhe camera for yel more ex¡osures, Iifl
and dro¡ her Pu||s lo creale air ¡ockels vhere deveIo¡er and
dyes cannol reach, se¡arale negalive from ¡osilive, hanging
each as is, unframed and oflen side by side vhiIe chemicaIs
conlinue lo reacl and change over lime. Visiling vilh her
vork sends me scurrying inlo every ¡ockel of myseIf ÷
books haIf- or unread, musicaI ¡assages or somelhing oul
of lune, a sense of aIarm, an inslanlaneous rise of my body
Iahrenheil, and rushing for vords lo hoId il aII lhere in ils
zone syslem quiel.
Pncicgrcpnq Dcgrcc Zcrc bridges lvo calegories of LIIen
Carey's vork: lhe IoIaroid Pu||s and se¡arale sile s¡ecihc
IoIaroid inslaIIalions. These are Iarge-scaIe vorks shoving
aII evidence of lhe IoIaroid ¡rocess, even lhe dovnßov of
exhausled chemicaIs. Those Pu||s of more lhan one image
aIso sequesler massive s¡hericaI siIences imagining lhree-di!
mensionaIily vilhin lheir negalive s¡aces. Her Siruc| |q
Iigni ¡holograms, enlilIed Pusn Pins, Rcq Bcn!s, Ncc-Ops and
B|in|s are dißerenl. Whereas lhe Pu||s ansver lhe queslion,
'Whal is a minimaI ¡hologra¡h`' lhe ¡holograms are Carey's
res¡onses lo lhe queslion, 'Whal is an abslracl ¡hologra¡h`'
In ¡Iace of TaIbol's common maleriaIs of ¡ine needIes and
Iace in muled coIors, Carey ¡refers nonlradilionaI maleriaIs
moslIy in high saluralion crealed by coIor ¡hologra¡hic
lheory and uniled by lhe common facl lhal lhey are aII, in
her vords, ¨slruck by Iighl.¨ The four ¡oelic reaIilies of
earlh, sun, valer and hre are abslracled lo dense saluralions
of lhe ¡rimary coIors green, yeIIov, bIue and red. Her gIass
marbIes lrace lheir ovn conlroIIed chaolic movemenls and
melaI ¡ins ¡ush lhrough lhe surface of lhe ¡hologra¡hic
¡a¡er. Carey has said of her coIor Pusn Pins ¡holograms,
¨The ¡ush ¡ins creale acluaI hoIes in lhe surface of lhe
¡a¡er, suggesling edges of ¡eri¡heraI vision . . . of raised,
irreguIar surfaces.¨
The American ¡oel, assislanl ¡rofessor of LngIish, and
Carey's former coIIeague, Connie Voisine, lhinks Carey's
vork dehes RoIand ßarlhes's asserlion in "Camera Lucida"
(198O) lhal lhe essence of ¡hologra¡hy is re¡resenlalionaI
via lvo eIemenls, lhe 'sludium' or generaIIy obvious
meanings underslood by mosl vievers and lhe '¡unclum'
vhich ¡ierces lhrough ca¡live lime aIong lhe surface of lhe
¡hologra¡h inlo a ¡ersonaI memory lhal vounds. ¨LIIen's
Pu||s are dehance,¨ Voisine loId me. ¨They ¡rove lhal
re¡resenlalion is nol a key lo her arl.¨ Carey feIl she lurned
a corner vhen she began ¡uncluring Iighl-sensilive ¡a¡er
vilh ¡ush ¡ins. She became inleresled in lhe bioIogy of
seeing and lhe crealion of nev coIors from chemicaIs. Her arl
is of lhe ¡rocess ilseIf lhal makes ¡iclures.
I sland in fronl of lhe Pu||s and lhe Siruc| |q Iigni
¡holograms lranshxed by a sense of eyesighl doubIing
back as inner vision mirroring our inlacl humanily in lhis
digilaIIy on-and-oß, fragmenlary and commodily-driven
vorId. I revisil lhe disorienlalion and hesilancy of being
and moving vilhin lhe Iayers of lhe dark and of lhe seIf in a
kind of deIeclabIe confusion: lhe Where am I`, Whal is me`,
Whal is nol me`, Whal do I see`, and Iike a chiId, vhoIe by
feeIing, vilh need no dißerenl from desire, crashing lhrough
lhe ¡henomenaI vorId vilh a funny bone imaginalion, by
lurns carefree, deIighled and seriousIy aIerl. The arlisl's
desire is urgenl vilh a viII lo hnd and give form lo lhe
¡Iace of absence in order lo assure ¡resence. Il is onIy in lhis
kind of ¡re-cognilive, eyes-cIosed-dream lhal one can reaIIy
see invardIy by feeIing ÷ even lhe a¡¡erce¡lions of lhe
chiId one once vas. ChiIdren, as ve aII knov, 'gel il' ÷ lhe
onrush of a momenl Iived vilhoul com¡rehension ÷ in
a vay free of lhe need for meaning by being fuIIy ¡resenl
in lhe ßuddhisl sense of inluiliveIy gras¡ing lhal lo vhich
inleIIecluaI conce¡ls can onIy ¡oinl.
An ardenl observer of
lhe exlrinsic vorId, Carey recaIIed seeing an infanl, vra¡¡ed
in a snuggIy u¡on his molher's chesl, vho vas enra¡lured
vilh lhe shadov of his ovn IillIe hand on a vaII as he
lurned il over and over again in lhe sunIighl.
This arlisl lransIilerales vilh her coIor darkroom
sensorium, bringing lo Iighl lhe visuaI equivaIences of her
muIli¡Iexed inleraclions amid varialions ¨in liming, scaIe,
dislance, framing, grou¡ing or isoIalion, delaiI, ¡ers¡eclive,
Ienglh of Iighl-vave: in a camera image lhese are nol mere
aeslhelic faclors bul mallers of e¡islemoIogy.¨
Hov il musl
vreck one's sense of lime vhen a decimaI ¡oinl exlra inslanl
of Iighl for a ¡hologra¡her can make aII lhe conlroIIed
combinalions of s¡ace and lime coIIa¡se or come inlo ¡Iay!
The greal ¡oels, Shakes¡eare and Yeals, vere vonder!
fuIIy confused vilh lheir vorId. Carey's vork is aIive vilh
queslions equaI lo HamIel's soIiIoquy of Acl III, Scene I, ¨To
be or nol lo be: lhal is lhe queslion.¨, or lo WiIIiam ßulIer
Yeals's ¨Hov can ve knov lhe dancer from lhe dance`¨

Il sends ils moliIe feeIers oul among lhe slrange dark
in-and-oul s¡aces lhe vay organisms inleracl vilh feedback
from lheir environmenl. The American ¡oel Gary Snyder (b.
193O) vrole: ¨Il is in lhe dee¡ mind lhal viIderness and lhe
unconsciousness become one . . . our reIalion lo lhe ouler
ecoIogies seems condilioned by our inner ecoIogies . . . .¨

Sviss vriler, AdoI¡h Muschg, (b. 1934) ¡raises lhe radicaI:
¨Hov is lhe middIe reIaled lo ils fringes`. . . lhere Iies ils
sense of louch for aII lhe nev lhal comes lovards il, lhere
lhe heaIlh of ils melaboIism is decided . . . lhere al lhe fringes
lhe syslem Iearns ÷ or cIoses ilseIf oß againsl ils ovn
Il is in lhis grealer sense lhal Carey's ¡rocess
urges our coIIeclive lhinking lovard nev ¡aradigms and
mylhoIogies lo ¡rogressiveIy re¡Iace lhe broken modeIs ve
sliII use for lhinking aboul our vondrous, ¡er¡Iexing and
dangerous vorId, cIearing a vay for vhal ¡oel and ¡hiIoso!
¡her Heriberlo Yó¡ez caIIs ¨s¡onlaneous lrulh.¨
LIIen Carey's ¡hologra¡hic and Iens-based arl is aIso a
fearIess and ¡hysicaIIy demanding arena lhal reIales and
seizes u¡on vhalever nev exisls aIong lhe edges, being
in lhe vhaIe-beIIy of darkness in a near bollomIess sea,
sensing and receiving vhal ve cannol see, and reminiscenl
of Carlier-ßresson's 'decisive momenl' of vhich Carey is
aculeIy avare, o¡ening and moving vilhin il as do ve vho
lake her cues from lhe olher side of her ¡iclures. Somelimes
lhere is no camera vhen she direclIy coIIaborales vilh Iighl,
¡a¡er surface, emuIsion, and myslery in her ¡holograms,
her ¡ick axe coIor ¡hologra¡hic lheory slriking al vhal she
caIIs ¨lhe molher Iode of coIor.¨
ÒccasionaIIy, I imagine, she
aIso musl lake res¡ile in cerlain IoIaroid Pu||s, of muIli¡Ie
ex¡osures in cooIing hues ÷ refreshing vhorIs u¡on lhe
cheek ÷ refuge vhere ve may calch our brealh lo lhink and
feeI our nexl sle¡ lovard necessary ¡oelic reaIilies.
We are in need of such ex¡eriences lo heI¡ us undersland
hov ve conslrucl lhe vorId by making meaning. Carey's
Pncicgrcpnq Dcgrcc Zcrc oßers lhal. We are caIIed u¡on lo
reacl as vhoIIy as lhe chemicaI reaclions lhal are her images
lo lhe ¡resence and absence (¡eriodicaIIy onIy ¡resence)
of darkness, an inner shadov ¡Iace vhere aII lhal lhere is
lenlaliveIy becomes.
IIiny lhe LIder, in his NaluraI Hislory (ca. 77-79 CL),
reIales lhe mylh of arl's origin in a fabIe aboul lhe daughler
of ßulades, a Greek ¡oller from Corinlh. She drev lhe
oulIined ¡rohIe of her Iover's shadov as il vas ¡ro|ecled on
lhe vaII by a Iam¡, |usl before he Iefl for ballIe, and vhich
her falher made inlo a scuI¡luraI reIief. Thus, before lhe reaI
shadov de¡arls vilh ils ovner il oßers lhe young voman
an image vilh vhich lo re¡resenl her beIoved ÷ lhal vhich
she hxes on lhe vaII for aII lime.
According lo arl hislorian,
Viclor I. Sloichila, in his remarkabIe book, "A Shorl Hislory
of lhe Shadov" (1997),
lhe hidden meaning of lhis mylh
invoIves lhe lranscendence of dealh. The image of lhe
Iover's face on lhe vaII is a verlicaI, erecl, Iife-Iike ¡ro|eclion,
a hgure. Whal is lhe daughler's inlenl` To memoriaIize
him`, Give him Iife`, Induce a ¡hanlasm of fore¡Iay vhen
besieged so by lhe lhroes of Lros and Thanalos` We sim¡Iy
do nol knov. She seems lo vanquish lhe lhreal of his dealh
in var by making an image lhal IileraIIy slands in for his
absence ÷ she makes him u¡righl, lhal is, forever aIive.
AIlhough lhe image she lraced is onIy a s¡eclre, il is,
nonelheIess, lhe immaleriaI counler¡arl or doubIe of lhe
absenl Iover. Il is nol Iosl on us here in lhe 21sl cenlury lhal
ßulades' daughler is nameIess ÷ a nameIessness slanding in
for lhe facl of vomen's absence lhroughoul arl hislory, and
a marker of vomen's invisibiIily in Ianguage lhal ignores
lhis one facl: lhe need lo name lhe vorId is a human need.
NeverlheIess lhe daughler's image remains. Il is limeIess, as
are Carey's symboIic |cmi|q Pcrircii, Sc|j-Pcrircii ci 48, and
lhe immense minimaIisl labIeaux, Mcurning Wc||.
Arl-making invoIves an im¡uIse lo hx a vorId lhreal!
ened vilh harm. Il is a necessary ¡oelic reaIily born of lhe
arlisl's Iove aßair vilh lhe vorId and is a survivaI slralegy
for individuaI and ¡Ianel aIike. LIIen Carey's IoIaroid Pu||s
incIude negalives lhal are assigned equaI slalus vilh lheir
¡osilives. Lach negalive is lhe ¡oelic icpcs, IileraIIy lhe
¡Iace of lhe hgure's absence, ils shadov ÷ lhe ¡araboIa of
a dragonßy's ving, a Iosl fealher, a varrior's shieId, of lhe
human longue, ¡enis, and breasl, of lhe siIence im¡eralive
for s¡eech, and lhe necessary darkness of lhe vorId, lhe
mind, before Iighl, before an image.
In his book, "The Ioelics of S¡ace" (1969), lhe Irench
¡hiIoso¡her Gaslon ßacheIard (1884-1962), vrole of nalure
imagining hov lo make lhe human ear by ¡raclicing vilh
seasheIIs for sound and form. I Iike lo lhink lhal Carey's
arl hne lunes lhe ear of lhe imaginalion. As I see inlo any
one of a number of Pu||s I may hear ßach on someone's
baby grand
or on American ¡oel WaIIace Slevens's ¨bIue
and lurning |usl so, hear Nina Simone, and
quench myseIf on Iong, dee¡ brealhs, and smiIe in aII lhal
Ioam, unliI from vilhin Carey's massive and monumenlaI
Mcurning Wc|| (2OOO) I hear Vicloria de Ios AngeIes singing
Dido's Iamenl, ¨When I am Iaid in earlh,¨
hoIding oß
lhe inevilabIe, hnaI siIence crealed by such bIackness. The
inslaIIalion of one hundred IoIaroid negalives (15 fl. high
and 4O fl. vide) form lhe a¡¡earance of a nicked and scarred
gun melaI grey mosaic vaII of siIence as incom¡rehensibIe
as lhe shadovs Iefl behind of lhe ¡eo¡Ie vho vere va¡or!
ized in Hiroshima.
There is an immense gralilude lovard
lhe arlisl vho gave so much lo ex¡ress such unfalhomabIe
sorrov. Lven lhough lhis vork ¡redales 9;11 by one year il
oßers Americans, in ¡arlicuIar, ils haunling scroII of vacanl
com¡rehension as sancluary in lhe aflermalh of lhal evenl.
Connie Voisine has said lhal Carey does, vilh lhe coIor
bIack, in lhe Mcurning Wc||, vhal lhe ßuIgarian-Irench
¡hiIoso¡her and ¡sychoanaIysl }uIia Krisleva (b. 1941),
vriling in "Desire in Language: A Semiolic A¡¡roach lo
Lileralure and Arl" (198O), slales lhe IIorenline ¡ainler
Giollo di ßondone (ca. 1267-1337) did vilh bIue in his Arena
Cha¡eI frescoes al Iadua. I venlure lo guess he dehed lhe
lradilionaIIy reslrained use of coIor in lhe frescoes of his
lime. Giollo's bIue ex¡ressed a human |oy free of myslicaI
¡ro|eclion. Inslead of making siIence lhal ¡oinls lo lhe
¡eriod of human deveIo¡menl before s¡eech, Voisine lhinks
of Carey's siIence of bIack as abslracl. I feeI il ¡oinls lo lhe
lime vhen an infanl hrsl ¡erceives coIor in ils fuIIesl sense
as se¡arale from ob|ecls ÷ a lime vhen coIor exisls for ilseIf
and our unlhinking immersion in il. Voisine and I noled lhal
Carey's bIack has lexlure yel is nol ¡ainling or scuI¡lure.
To give siIence lexlure is lo enIiven il, make il ¡aI¡abIe.
Again her vork by¡asses re¡resenlalionaI ¡hologra¡hy. Il
is abslracl. Il is lhe very lhing ilseIf. Wilhin lhe negalive and
¡osilive B|cc| Mu|iicnrcmc Pu|| (2OO8), I ¡eer inlo ink bIack
foIds of a garmenl renl and aImosl Iaid ßal by a furious and
fuliIe search for lhe Ioved one's body and slark vilh siIence.
The ¡hologram Iigni Siruc| (2OO9), inlerru¡ls lhis bIed-oul
scene vilh a singIe ßover of red, yeIIov, magenla, cyan,
green, bIue and vhile, s¡iIIing oul al us from ils bIackening
cenlraI vorlex an inhnile array of minialure coIor vheeIs,
dancing rainbov |eveIs, and oh, hov li¡sy I become.
Cc|cr 1nccrq (1995), a IoIaroid ¡osilive ¡rinl lhal refer!
ences "Rolary Demis¡here" (1925), a machine by Dadaisl
MarceI Ducham¡, is a fascinaling verligo: Imagine a rouIelle
vheeI, sans numbers and ¡arlilions, s¡inning counlIess,
smaII vheeIs in symmelricaI and asymmelricaI orbilaIs
of lhe ¡rimary addilive coIors red, green and bIue inlo a
bIur of cenlrifugaI and cenlri¡elaI ¡allerns as some bIend
oß lhe edges of lhe ¡rinl vhiIe olhers galher vehemenlIy
shar¡er lovard lhe cenler, and overaII, creale lhe ¡rimary
sublraclives, yeIIov, magenla and cyan vherever lhey
overIa¡, and inlervaIs of vhile vhere aII lhe coIors meId ÷ a
big bang gaIaxy, our ser¡enline morlaI coiI, and a fanlaslic
foreshadoving of vhal Carey viII do vilh ¡hologra¡hic
coIor lheory. I relurn lo lhe humid red of 1nc Rc! Pncicgrcm
(2OO1), vilh ils forefronling of coIorfuI, ßoaling, circuIar
noles and broken bIack slrings lhal ve gaze ¡asl lo a red
inlerior, music sliII inside. I recaII a Iine from a ¡oem of lhe
same name: ¨If onIy one couId Iook inside lhis dark room of
lhe body.¨
The inslaIIalion viev, a suile of six B|in|s (2OO8), one
for each of six coIors ÷ red, green, bIue, yeIIov, magenla,
cyan ÷ have me Iooking ¡asl TaIbol's 1nc Oric| Win!cu (1835
or 1839), vilh nev eyes. Lach of lhese six inlerde¡endenl
B|in|s is com¡osed of a singuIar, irreguIar Iallice ¡allern of
ils ovn (as if svayed by lhe vind) of lhickening, bIack nel
lhal ¡eri¡heraIIy bounds lhe see¡ing coIor and slacks aII
coIors lovard a cIoud-Iike, vhile cenler. Òlher B|in|s, a smaII
¡hologram and a midsize ink|el coIor ¡rinl (2OO3 and 2OO4),
and an even Iarger one (2OO5), an oversized, digilaI ink|el
coIor ¡rinl com¡osed of her originaI coIor ¡holograms, are
archileclures of coIor, coIor lhe archileclure of Iighl. The
orderIy, ¡Iaid malrices are com¡osed of Carey's Rcq Bcn!s
(2OO3), lhal seemingIy 'bIink' al us, as ve al lhem, our rods
and cones beviIdered by aflerimages of such ¡ro¡orlionaIily
and ¡roximily. We are Iooking al and inlo a muIli-slory
buiIding vilhoul vaIIs and agIov vilh inhnile de¡lhs. The
rooms are formed by su¡¡orling beams of rainbovs cubed,
and vhere lhey inlersecl each node bIinks ÷ a GaIaxy`
Larlh` Mind` AII lhree`
Conlrasl lhese B|in|s vilh lhe Pusn Pins series, ¡arlic!
1,.+,% Pusn Pins (2OO2), in vhich each ¡ush ¡in ¡unclure
is a momenl lhrough lime, slruck by Iighl (lo borrov lhe
lilIe of LIIen Carey's 2OO9 ¡hologram relros¡eclive from
1992-2OO9). See lhe s¡arks ßy oß her anviI ÷ her molher
Iode of coIor. Move ¡asl lhis scrim of Iighls¡arks ¡eeIing oß
in every direclion lo lhe more soIid bIocks of coIor in aII lheir
varialion, and beyond lhese, shock your seIf vilh a fainlesl
sense of a free human ¡resence, rav and eIeganl, somevhere
lhere. Here.
-%;;) ?#.561$.(
A IersonaI Nole: Il vas a lremendous ¡Ieasure lo be enriched so
by LIIen Carey's generous ßov of ideas, knovIedge, queslions and
humor lhroughoul lhe deveIo¡menl of lhis essay.
Co¡yrighl 2O1O, 2O14 © by Donna IIeischer. Ised vilh ¡ermission by lhe aulhor.
1. Nassim NichoIas TaIeb, 1nc B|cc| Sucn. 1nc |mpcci
cj inc Hign|q |mprc|c||c, (Nev York: Random
House, 2OO7). ßIack svans are ma|or, exce¡lion!
aI and un¡rediclabIe evenls, incIuding arlislic
achievemenls, conceived as exlreme oulIiers,
vhich ve Ialer ralionaIize as foreseeabIe. MaIcoIm
GIadveII, in Oui|icrs. 1nc Sicrq cj Succcsss, (Nev
York: LillIe, ßrovn & Com¡any, 2OO8), describes
oulIiers as exlraordinary ¡eo¡Ie vhose accom!
¡Iishmenls sur¡ass our range of ex¡erience, and
so, ¡uzzIe us, have cIocked al Ieasl 1O,OOO hours
of resoIule Iabor in lheir heIds, and, vhose cuIlur!
aI, hisloricaI backgrounds are equaIIy im¡orlanl
lo individuaI characlerislics. (LIIen Carey's idea
lo use TaIeb's ada¡lalion of ¨ßIack Svan Theory¨
deveIo¡ed in ¡arl from her reading of lhis essay
in hrsl drafl form. n.b. AIlhough her use of lhe
IoIaroid camera began in 1983, for lhe ¡ur¡oses
of lhis arlicIe, onIy s¡ecihc vorks daling from
1995 lo lhe ¡resenl are discussed.)
2. Caslor is lhe hrsl slar in lhe consleIIalion Gemini
(or lhe Tvins) and IoIIux is lhe second slar. In 1nc
Grcc| Mqins. 1 (196O), LngIish ¡oel and schoIar
Roberl Graves (1895 ÷ 1985) ex¡Iains lhal lhey
re¡resenl lhe lvin sons of Greek mylh generaIIy
described as chiIdren of Zeus and Leda. The
Greek lragic ¡oels leII lhe slory of ¨Leda and lhe
Svan¨ in vhich Zeus cou¡Ies vilh Leda in lhe
form of a svan, crealing HeIen and CIylemneslra,
from lhe one egg, and Caslor and IoIIux from
lhe olher (¡¡. 2O6 ÷ 2O8). Yeals's ¡oem, Ic!c cn!
inc Sucn, (1924, 1928) reIales lhe lvin lragedy
of lhis slory: lhe faII of Troy, caused by HeIen's
eIo¡emenl vilh lhe Tro|an, Iaris and lhe murder
of lhe greal King Agamemnon, by his ovn vife,
CIylemneslra. According lo Graves, in an earIier
version of lhe mylh, lhe moon goddess, Nemesis,
of lhe IeIo¡onnesian svan cuIl, vas simiIarIy
lricked by Zeus (¡. 2O8). American mylhoIogy
schoIar and vriler, }ose¡h Cam¡beII (19O4 ÷ 1987),
in his book, 1nc Mcs|s cj Gc!. Primiiitc Mqinc|cgq
(197O), noles lhal in Lascaux, in soulhern Irance,
is a cave ¡iclure of a shaman ¨dressed in bird
coslume Iying ¡roslrale in a lrance and vilh
lhe hgure of a bird ¡erched on his shaman slaß
beside him.¨ (¡. 258) Shaman birds of Siberia,
India, China, Germany, and Nalive American cuI!
lures em¡hasize lhe bird as a s¡iriluaI messenger
ca¡abIe of ßying beyond lhis Iife and relurning
vhiIe in a lrance. There is a rich and uncanny as!
socialion belveen lhese symboIs in lheir crealive
and s¡iriluaI incarnalions and lhe sui generis
nalure of Carey's hrsl Pu||s lhal even exlends lo
her given name, LIIen, lhe bringer of Iighl, from
lhe Greek LIene, of vhich c|c means sunIighl, and
lo her surname, Carey, vhich is lhe common an!
gIicized version of lhe originaI Irish Ciardha, from
lhe Irish vord cicr, for dark or bIack (Ida Grehan's
1nc Diciicncrq cj |risn |cmi|q Ncmcs, 1997). Òne
hnaI corres¡ondence invoIves lhe facl lhal Carey
makes IoIaroid Pncicgrcpnq Dcgrcc Zcrc Pu||s
and bIack-and-vhile ¡holograms in a sludio
vilh am¡Ie Iighl, vhiIe lhe Siruc| |q Iigni coIor
¡holograms are sha¡ed in lolaI darkness before
and afler lransienl ex¡osures lo Iighl.
3. MichaeI WaIsh, hIm sludies schoIar and LIIen
Carey's former husband, used lhis ¡hrase in 1996,
u¡on seeing her hrsl IoIaroid Pu||s, lo describe
her nev discovery conce¡ls and arlislic ¡raclice.
4. YseuIl Chehala and Granl WiIIing, A¡erlure
Ioundalion on Vimeo: 1nc |!gc cj Visicn |nicrticu
Scrics, (7:O6) video cIi¡ of LIIen Carey ¡resenling
her vorks in lhe A¡erlure GaIIery exhibilion, 1nc
|!gc cj Visicn. 1nc Risc cj A|sircciicn in Pncicgrc-
pnq, book and exhibilion curaled by LyIe Rexer,
Nev York, NY, }uIy 2OO9 (hll¡:;;vvv.a¡erlure.
5. Naomi RosenbIum, A Wcr|! Hisicrq cj Pncicgrc-
pnq, lhird edilion, (Nev York: AbbeviIIe Iress,
1997), 325 ÷ 329.
6. LIIen Carey, ¨CoIor Me ReaI,¨ in Sc| IcWiii. 100
Vicus, eds. Susan Cross and Denise Markonish
(Nev Haven: YaIe Iniversily Iress, 2OO9).
7. LIIen Carey exhibiled and coIIaboraled vilh
curalor Nancy SluIa of lhe Lyman AIIyn Arl
Museum, Nev London, CT in ils 2OO6 ÷ 2OO7
exhibilion, jcmmc |rui(c), and gave lhe evenl ils
slriking, uncooked lilIe.
8. YseuIl Chehala and Granl WiIIing, A¡erlure
Ioundalion on Vimeo: 1nc |!gc cj Visicn |nicrticu
Scrics, (7:O6) video cIi¡ of LIIen Carey ¡resenling
her vorks in lhe A¡erlure GaIIery exhibilion,
11nc |!gc cj Visicn. 1nc Risc cj A|sircciicn in
Pncicgrcpnq, book and exhibilion curaled by LyIe
Rexer, Nev York, NY, }uIy 2OO9 (hll¡:;;vvv.
9. Roberl Ailken, 1nc Min! cj C|ctcr. |sscqs in Zcn
Bu!!nisi |inics, (San Irancisco: Norlh Ioinl Iress,
1984), 6.
1O. ¨Whal Is a Thing`¨, describes a 2OO9 ¡hologra¡h!
ic exhibilion from lhe Irincelon Iniversily Arl
Museum's ¡ermanenl coIIeclion ¡resenled in
res¡onse lo German ¡hiIoso¡her Marlin Heide!
gger's queslion ¡osed in his 195O Ieclure, ¨The
Thing¨, as ¡osled on lhe Web sile of lhe Irincelon
Iniversily Arl Museum, }une 2OO9, hll¡:;;vvv.
11. WiIIiam ßulIer Yeals (1865 ÷ 1939), from his ¡oem,
¨Among SchooIchiIdren,¨ 1nc Ncricn Aninc|cgq
cj |ng|isn Iiicrciurc, rev. voI. 2, ed. M. H. Abrams,
(Nev York: W. W. Norlon & Com¡any, 1968),
12. Gary Snyder excer¡l, ¡osled on ¡oel Tom
Cheelham's oßciaI ßIog sile, ¨A Music ßeyond
Meaning,¨ hll¡:;;archaicfragmenls.bIogs¡ol.com .
13. AdoIf Muschg, ciled secondariIy and vilhoul
allribulion in a Ieller lo lhe aulhor from lhe
direclor of lhe WorId WiIdIife Iederalion, Sviss
cha¡ler, and lransIaled from lhe originaI German
by ßellina Viereck, }une 2OO5.
14. Heriberlo Yó¡ez, ¨Llho¡oelics, Whal Is Il` (Iarl
Òne),¨ ¡osled on }erome Rolhenberg's oßciaI
ßIog sile ¨Ioems and Ioelics,¨ }une 2OO9, hll¡:;;
¡oemsand¡oelics.bIogs¡ol.com. Yó¡ez vrole,
lherein, lhal Irench ¡hiIoso¡her MicheI IoucauIl
rediscovered ¨hov lo relhink ¡hiIoso¡hy nol |asj
a discourse-based disci¡Iine bul as.lhe re-mak!
ing of man.¡roducing Ianguage in unex¡ecled
vays.lo ¡roduce s¡onlaneous lrulh.¨
15. LIIen Carey, sIide shov Ieclure, ¡resenled by
lhe arlisl in landem vilh lhe exhibilion, Siruc|
|q Iigni, A Relros¡eclive of Iholograms (1992
÷ 2OO9) by LIIen Carey, Sainl }ose¡h CoIIege Arl
GaIIery, Wesl Harlford, CT, }une 2OO9, Ann H.
Sievers, GaIIery Direclor and Curalor.
16. Sun Piciurcs 1niriccn. An exhibilion calaIogue.
Texl by Larry }. Schaaf, in associalion vilh Hans
I. Kraus, }r., (Nev York: Hans I. Kraus, }r. Iine
Ihologra¡hs, 2OO4), 38 ÷ 39.
17. Viclor I. Sloichila, A Sncri Hisicrq cj inc Snc!cu"
(London: Reaklion ßooks Lld., 1997), 15 ÷ 2O.
18. LIIen Carey has slaled lhal her grand¡arenls had
a baby Sleinvay ¡iano. When crilics com¡are
her arlvork lo abslracl ¡ainling she says lhal for
her ¨¡hologra¡hy is an inde¡endenl arl form,
se¡arale from ¡ainling, and il's more Iike music, a
universaI Ianguage.¨ Augusl 2OO9.
19. WaIIace Slevens (1879 ÷ 1955), from his ¡oem
¨The Man vilh lhe ßIue Guilar,¨ Tnc Pc|m ci inc
|n! cj inc Min!, (Nev York: AIfred A. Kno¡f,
1971), 133.
2O. In Henry IurceII's o¡era, Di!c cn! Acnccs, 1689.
21. }ohn Hersey, ¨Hiroshima¨, 1nc Ncu Ycr|cr"
Augusl 31, 1946. In lhis magazine arlicIe, Hersey,
an American noveIisl and |ournaIisl, inlervieved
six survivors of lhe alomic bomb bIasl conducled
by lhe American miIilary in 1946, vhich aImosl
obIileraled lhe enlire }a¡anese cily of Hiroshi!
ma. He mainlained a re¡orler's inlegrily for lhe
facls by Ielling lhe survivors' slories s¡eak for
22. ¨The Red Ihologram,¨ 2OO9. A haibun vrillen
by Donna IIeischer in corres¡ondence vilh a
dißerenl red ¡hologram by LIIen Carey, and ¡ub!
Iished vilh olher ¡oems of ek¡hrasis in "Visions,
Voices, and Verses," an anlhoIogy for lhe Nev
ßrilain Museum of American Arl, C. Haskins & A.
ßarlon, edilors, LxiIes Iress, WiIIimanlic, CT 2O12:
The Red Ihologram
The un¡Ianned for lri¡ began as I sle¡¡ed back
from LIIen Carey's red ¡hologram, "The sha¡e
of grief is circuIar,¨ lhe book reviever vrole of
Iorresl Gander's noveI, and I vonder lhal my
avidily for ¡rocraslinalion lakes lhe sha¡e of
vaIking in circIes. I sland sliII before lhe red ¡ho!
logram for vhich I have no vords, of reIevance.
ßul lhose red svirIs, lhey are lhere, every day,
and lhey make me smiIe.

Ls¡eciaIIy lhere in lhe Iale vinler bone-cIeaving
days vhen I begin lo feeI oul my circIe vaIks,
Iooking oul of vindovs, relurning lo a ¡Iace onIy
lo Ieave. My ovn Greek chorus. Iirsl movemenls,
avay from a molher. Sle¡¡ing back from a mirror,
slarlIed by lhe absence of somelhing. Remember!
ing and forgelling, unliI il becomes me. The il of
absence aIready slaged in lhe bIood.
ßurroughs caIIed il ¨lhe sofl ly¡evriler of lhe
vomb¨ lhe ¡Iace vhere ve begin lo make hrsl
vords. ßußering ourseIves from her overIoud
hearlbeals, I su¡¡ose. The beller vords, says
Rimbaud, are in lhe siIence of coIor.
shadovs of geese
ßickering 'cross lree lrunks
quiel s¡ring morning
So lhere il is, Arl, lhe uIlimale road lri¡, vilh
rickshav and naked feel and kasa slrung under
lhe chin vhiIe ßoals a ¡iIIov of consciousness on
Iasl nighl's dream. A ¡ainler friend's vords in an
e-maiI, ¨ ÷ lhe need lo re|ecl lhe vrillen vord;
numbers (ego) from our lhoughl ¡rocess.When
il comes lo arl, I don'l knov anymore,¨ he says.
IIeeling ¡erce¡lions, a¡¡erce¡lions. GIory of lhe
everyday of ordinary lhings lhal slay as ve ¡ass
by lhem.1ncsc c|cssicc| Cnincsc pccis, Wcng Wci,
Ii Pc, Hcn Sncn, minimc|isi in siq|c cn! sc ccmp|cic|q
cm|c!ic! in incir cn!|css |ccting cn! rciurning. 1nc
The hrsl lime lhere is Loss il's aIready loo Iale
÷ Loss circuIaling in endIess Ioo¡s. You Iook
and vail, Iook and vail, for your Iove, your Iosl
one, lo relurn. The sound of your ovn bIood in
your ears vhen you are mosl aIone. The sound
of lhe earlh aII o¡ened u¡ and s¡eaking, and lhe
mourner, vho Iislens, lhe undervorId slarIildark!
ness of lhe body emerging on lhe horizon of birlh.
Li Io's gale
November vind
If onIy one couId Iook inside lhis dark room of lhe
body. See lhe quiel, orderIy ¡rocession of bIood.
Conlained. Iur¡Ie. A royaI Iife of ils ovn. Hear
lhe sofl,murmuring canaIs bIoom. }usl sland in
lhe sunIighl and cIose your eyes. Those red svirIs,
lhey'II make you smiIe.

Donna IIeischer
March 2OO9

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