Buck Ellison
Slip Lead

November 2021
Sweden, Stora Sundby
Hotchkiss v. Taft #9, 2017, Archival Pigment Print, 78.74 × 53.15 in. (200 × 135 cm)
Untitled (Cars), 2008, Archival pigment print, 39 × 47.6 in. (99 × 121 cm)
Great Society, 2013, Archival pigment print, 22 × 24.8 in. (55.8 × 63.2 cm)
Scientific Charity, 2013, Archival pigment print, 22 × 24.8 in. (55.8 × 63.2 cm)
Strenuous Life, 2013, Archival pigment print, 22 × 24.8 in. (55.8 × 63.2 cm)
Ethical Culture, 2013, Archival pigment print, 22 × 24.9 in. (55.8 × 63.2 cm)
Fleece (Charcoal), 2018, Archival pigment print, 25 × 20 in. (63.5 × 50.8 cm)
Fleece (Spinnaker), 2018, Archival pigment print, 25 × 20 in. (63.5 × 50.8 cm)
Fleece (Starboard), 2018, Archival pigment print, 25 × 20 in. (63.5 × 50.8 cm)
Fleece (Hull Blue), 2018, Archival pigment print, 25 × 20 in. (63.5 × 50.8 cm)
Fleece (Deep Bay), 2018, Archival pigment print, 25 × 20 in. (63.5 × 50.8 cm)
Untitled (Whistles), 2021, Archival Pigment Print, 23.7 × 96 in. (60.3 × 243.8 cm), Edition 1 of 3 + 2AP

Exhibition Text

“Ellison likes to litigate his audience’s consciousness, as well as his own, by capturing a well-formulated beauty that is innately seductive in its syntheticity while also announcing the inevitable ugliness of it all.”  Lara Conrad.

Carl Kostyál proudly presents ‘Slip Lead’, Los Angeles-based artist Buck Ellison’s first solo exhibition with the gallery, generously hosted by Mauritz Klingspor at his home, the magnificent 16th century castle of Stora Sundby, on the banks of Lake Hjälmaren in Södermansland in Sweden.

Ellison conjures photographs of painstakingly constructed scenarios that inquire into the visual vocabulary of privilege in America. With an impeccable aesthetic that draws on Dutch Renaissance painting and advertising tropes in equal measure, the artist zones in on the tacit signifiers of power in upper-middle class America.

After graduating from Frankfurt’s Städeschule in 2014, Ellison returned to his native California to reproduce the habits of a social milieu he knows very well. Informed by a considered process of research, Ellison’s photography is carefully staged and choreographed: he casts amateur actors and picks out everything from props to locations. The result is a cinematic, almost eerie ambiguity between spontaneity and artifice.

For this exhibition, which features works from 2008 to the present, female lacrosse players, a sports jockey wearing a Vineyard Vines fleece in a variety of colours, improbably parked SUVs, fish and, most recently, in a new work made especially for Stora Sundby, a brilliantly detailed array of hunting paraphernalia, are the recipients of his unflinching and ironic sociological lens. The context of this exhibition, a dynamic intervention into the private entertaining rooms of the castle, lend these works, which have temporarily supplanted a number of family portraits belonging to the family, a particular potency and resonance.

Buck Ellison (b. 1987, San Francisco), lives and works in Los Angeles. He holds a BA in Visual Art and German Literature from Columbia University, New York (2010) and a BFA from Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main in 2014.

Ellison has recently presented his work in solo exhibitions at the Balice Hertling, Paris (2019 and 2016); The Sunday Painter in London (2019); The Meeting/Bill Cournoyer in New York (2017); LAPAIX in Paris (2016); Weiss Berlin in Berlin (2016); Bad Bentheim Castle in Germany (2015); and Ratio 3 in San Francisco (2014).

Selected group exhibitions include ‘Made in LA. 2020: a version’, the Hammer Museum, LA, the Huntington Museum, Pasadena, CA (2020); ‘Antarctica’, Kunsthalle Wien ( 2018); ‘Shutter’, Carnelutti, Milan, (2018); ‘Where We Meet’, Inman Gallery, Houston, (2018); ‘Case Study’, Balice Hertling, Paris (2017); ‘Golden State’, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York (2017); ‘Tilting At Windmills, Roberta’, Frankfurt am Main (2017); ‘Mad Horizon, Index’, Stockholm, 2016; ‘New German Photography, On Stellar Rays’, New York (2016); ‘The Sun Placed In The Abyss’, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus (2016); ‘The Social Register, Park View’, Los Angeles (2015); ‘Pashmina’, Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt, (2014); ‘Press Days’, Gillmeier Rech, Berlin (2014).

Install photography: Mikael Olsson. Artworks © the artist. Courtesy of Carl Kostyál