Untitled (American Spirit), 2017, a photograph of an idyllic suburban home with superimposed Chinese lettering and out-of-focus flowers in the foreground. Yet the house is a prop, suggesting that Americana is a farce — an advertisement for a product that doesn't exist.
Installation view courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.
The title of Roe Ethridge's latest show is "American Spirit," a clever pun that could refer to both an idea (patriotism) and a thing (a cigarette brand). Here Ethridge's photographs portray Americana as if it were a product that could packaged, branded, and sold. No surprise, then, that American Spirit cigarette boxes become the subject of several nonsensically Photoshopped works, with roses digitally transposed on them, and with apples and almonds strewn around them; the results are like advertisements gone haywire. For the past two decades, Ethridge's work has mixed savvy conceptualism and the sleekness of fashion photography, and here, Ethridge does it again, with even finer results than usual. Portraits of dead-eyed models, a still life with digitally flattened basketballs, and a mountain landscape are just a few of the many offerings here.
Among the show's most beguiling works is