PLATES: New Polymer Photogravures and Ceramic work by Christopher Selleck
Exhibition Runs: September 26 - October 25, 2020
Christopher Selleck's exhibit "Plates" is a portrait series of body builders and a small selection of cast ceramic weight plates. This series is an exploration of the rigid definitions of masculinity through a lens of feminism, race and queer theory that reveal the stagnation of this outmoded form of representation.
The Body Builders were photographed in the artist’s studio from open calls and referrals, and the resulting portraits are of men across age, race, orientation, and fitness level. Using the Polymer Photogravure process, a plate is made of the image, which is hand inked and sent through an intaglio press. A blend of graphite, black and silver inks are pressed into Rives BFK 100% Cotton paper, the soft fibers showing the deep inset mark of the plate leaving a visible impression in the paper. This exertion and pressure parallel the work done by body builders as they train and diet to achieve an internalized idea of physical perfection. That internalized psychological weight has been central to Selleck’s work over the last several years. The antiquated process to produce these contemporary portraits is a nod to the history of photography that previously limited the production of images depicting male bodies as beautiful and desirable. The weight plates are made by hand pressing clay into silicone molds, further referencing the of rigid formation of a specific type of masculinity manifested, strength and power are achieved through the repetitive contraction of muscles with weight under force. The stacks of ceramic weight plates are surrogates for the body, the imperfections and foibles of the surface are revealed.
Christopher Selleck was born in Augusta, GA. He received his BFA in Photography from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2013 and his MFA in Visual Studies and Photography from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 2016. Selleck’s work has been exhibited regionally and nationally at places such as the Plains Art Museum, Rochester Art Center, The DeVos Art Museum, The Duluth Art Institute and a solo exhibition at Soo Visual Arts Center in 2018.
Christopher Selleck is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Special thanks to Keith Taylor for guidance and advice with the Polymer Photogravure process and for printing a select number of images on view here. Also special thanks to Brian Bolden, Betsy Alwin, and Chase Barney who have been an endless source of support and technical assistance in all aspects of the ceramic process.