Intergenerational love, loss, trauma and joy are explored in a project mining the ambiguities of memory, through thirty years of the artist photographing her family.
Ellis Ritter’s first monograph The Model Family loops and deconstructs family photographs of the past and her own contemporary images, in the process confronting head-on the ambiguity of photography and its role in memory and identity. However, far from being a space of nostalgia, The Model Family explores family dynamics with unflinching detail: death, birth, conflict, divorce and sexuality mix matter-of-factly alongside conventional, aspirational nuclear normality: pets, marriage, smiling faces, deep summer evenings. In Ellis Ritter’s circular conception of the family, imperceptibly oscillating between the past and the present, the artist explores how the images of those closest to you are also often the most slippery, sliding just out of reach.
Tealia Ellis Ritter (b. 1978) is an American artist, currently living and working in rural Connecticut. Her work has been exhibited internationally, most recently by Aperture, Taschen NYC, the Swab Art Fair, Barcelona and as part of Designing Women III: MOTHER. Her work has also appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, i-D and The Financial Times.
Loose Joints, January 2022.