Yancey Richardson Gallery is pleased to announce Wallflower, an exhibition of photographs by New York-based artist Amy Elkins. In her gallery debut, Elkins presents a series of male portraits against floral backdrops that explore a more complicated understanding of what constitutes masculinity.
In this ongoing series, Elkins’ subjects are either friends or recent acquaintances photographed in her home in three-hour sessions. For each sitting, the artist constructs a small space whose interior is covered with floral wallpaper or fabric. In a reversal of the traditional male gaze, Elkins asks her subjects to pose shirtless and without props. Stripped of their personal accoutrements and placed in a clearly feminine environment, the subjects reveal a vulnerability and sensitivity that suggests a more nuanced reading of gender identity.
Working one-on-one in a confined space, Elkins forces a certain level of intimacy with her subjects. In these encounters, it is, in the artist’s own words, the tension that makes the photograph. Allowing the awkwardness of the exchange between photographer and subject to linger, Elkins captures moments of self-consciousness, pain and introspection in their mannerisms and expressions.
A California native, Elkins lives and works in Brooklyn. She is a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts and her work has been included in several group shows in New York. She has recently opened a solo exhibition Fractured Fiction at the Pingyao International Photo Festival in China. She is the co-founder and co-curator of the recently launched Women in Photography, a curated on-line venue for women working within the medium of photography.