Over the course of his career, Darrel Ellis developed a distinct studio practice that merged the formal vocabularies of drawing, photography, painting, and printmaking to redefine Black male identity and family within the constructs of art history and mainstream culture.
Ellis was influential during his life, inspiring the work of other artists and participating in more than 20 group exhibitions in New York and Europe before his career was cut short in 1992 by his death at the age of 33 due to an AIDS-related illness. To produce his groundbreaking images, Ellis shifted across a wide range of media, employing painting, printmaking, drawing, sculpture, and collage to generate endless variations on a single image. This often involved projecting photographic negatives onto sculpted reliefs and re-photographing the results.
This exhibition examines the full arc of Ellis’s career through approximately 60 works on paper, including a historically significant body of work that captures the experiences and public perceptions of Black men living with the AIDS virus, as well as an expansive group of portraits of his family members that offer a record of Black domestic life.
Darrel Ellis: Regeneration is co-organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Bronx Museum of the Arts. Silver Sponsors: Dr. Suzanne R. Thorpe and Dr. John W. Baynes. Friend Sponsors: Barbara B. Boyd; Hotel Trundle. Patron Sponsors: Joseph Bruce; Haynsworth, Sinkler, Boyd; Suzi and Robert Clawson; Beth and Matthew Richardson. Grantors: City of Columbia; Experience Columbia SC; Richland County Government; South Carolina Arts Commission; Discover South Carolina.