Published by Visual AIDS, New York. Text by Derek Conrad Murray, Steven G. Fullwood, Tiana Reid. Contributions by Sadie Barnette, Alanna Fields, S*an D. Henry-Smith, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Ariel Goldberg.
Known for his experimental approach to painting and photography, New York–based mixed-media artist Darrel Ellis (1958–92) explored the psychic terrain between surface, memory and lyric self-representation. Working in part from his late father’s photographs, Ellis projected, deconstructed and reimaged his family history, creating uncanny portraits marked by voids and warps. His commitment to the self-portrait was no less inspired, particularly after his experiences of being photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe and Peter Hujar. Ellis was on the cusp of major recognition when his life was cut short by AIDS in 1992, at the age of 33. This monograph provides the most comprehensive account of the artist to date, including 80 plates that chart his development from figurative painting to photographic experimentation and his later preoccupation with self-portraiture. Essays and an illustrated chronology featuring previously unseen excerpts from the artist’s journals provide new insights into Ellis’ life and work.