Roe Ethridge, Untitled, 2002. Chromogenic color print, 40 x 50 inches (101.6 x 127 cm). Acquired through the generosity of Niki Friedberg. © Roe Ethridge
Roe Ethridge’s work interrogates the relationship between commercial and fine art photography to reveal a shared language. He is celebrated for subtly manipulating banal subjects—from rotting oranges to suburban families—to heighten their intrinsic drama.
Untitled is part of a series of images of pigeons that Ethridge began in 2000. Using a high-speed flash, he captures the bird mid-flight. Connected to the history of photography, specifically the photographic experiments investigating animals’ motion conducted by Étienne Marey and Eadweard Muybridge, Ethridge’s series appears to monumentalize and eternalize an ordinary urban animal. The pigeon depicted, however, is no ordinary bird, but a trained “extra” rented from Universal Studios, set against a studio backdrop that mimics the blue of the sky.
Untitled joins other works in the ICA/Boston collection by this prominent contemporary photographer, whose work was featured in a solo exhibition at the museum in 2005, offering an opportunity to showcase its breadth and diversity.