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Vincent Skeltis, Nowhere But Up


31 Grand
143 Ludlow Street, between Rivington and Stanton, 212-228-0901
East Village / Lower East Side
February 11 - March 13, 2005
Reception: Friday, February 11, 7 - 10 PM
Web Site

Vincent Skeltis, Jr. was four years old when his father disappeared, twenty-five when he reappeared. The years spent in between were filled with rage, disillusionment and righteousness; Vincent Jr. grew up without a father, dropped out of high school and boozed, fought and fucked his way to New York City where he became a photographer. By the time Vincent, Sr. came round again, his son had nearly succeeded in his plight toward self-destruction; as expressed by his photographs – a lifestyle replete with celebrity, excess, prostitution, drug and desperation – ironically capturing both the artist and subject in equal light. However, upon learning that the reason the old man was calling was to tell his son he was dying, irrevocably changed everything.

During his twenty-one year absence, Vincent Skeltis, Sr. lived in the hard, dry Californian town of Visalia. An hour south of Fresno, Visalia is a place where unregistered guns, tricked-out cars, drugs and back-alley entrances fostered over two decades of hard living for a man who suddenly found himself dying of a failing heart (he was born with a condition called Tetrology of Fallot). Faced with death, dad called upon his only son who, after wrestling with a knot of emotions, joined him for his final ten months.

Nowhere But Up is a story about change. Representing a collage of memories unshared, the exhibition’s 37 images and 9 installations incorporate the trail of artifacts Vincent, Sr. left behind: belt buckles, love letters from his girlfriends, pool cues, guns fired, falsified documents, photographs of himself having sex with nameless women, even a credit card secured with his son’s social security number. Nowhere But Up is the document of a man who cheated everything save death, but furthermore explores the death of the American nuclear family.

See also this post on the show by James Wagner.
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