Keisha Scarville: "Elegy: Selections from Mama's Clothes"

April 20 through May 20, 2018
Opening reception: April 20, 2018, 6-8pm

Keisha Scarville, "Untitled Still Life #3 (from Mama's Clothes series)", 2017.... Image #884
Keisha Scarville, "Untitled Still Life #4 (from Mama's Clothes series)", 2017.... Image #900
Keisha Scarville, "Untitled #18 (from Mama's Clothes series)", 2017, Archival.... Image #901
Keisha Scarville, "Untitled Still Life #2a (from Mama's Clothes series)", 201.... Image #902
Keisha Scarville, "Untitled Still Life #5 (from Mama's Clothes series)", 2017.... Image #903
Keisha Scarville, "Untitled Still Life #6 (from Mama's Clothes series)", 2018.... Image #904
Keisha Scarville: Elegy: Selections from Mama's Clothes (installation view). Image #907

Keisha Scarville
Elegy:  Selections from Mama's Clothes
April 20 – May 20, 2018

Opening Reception: Friday, April 20, 6–8pm


Lesley Heller is pleased present a solo exhibition of new photographs by Keisha Scarville in the Project Space.

Keisha Scarville uses photography to explore and satisfy her desire to deconstruct reality and connect to her past.  Her ongoing body of work, Mama’s Clothes, explores broader notions of absence, and the camera's role in visualizing that which cannot be seen, but can be felt.

Scarville states that ”The crux of my work resides in narratives that are triggered by absence… I examine the materiality of absence and the subjectivity of the body within the void… I explore the weight of histories and rituals contained within objects, landscapes and the body to address questions of belonging and power in the midst of negation.”

The black and white photographs being presented in Elegy: Selections from Mama's Clothes include works which feature Scarville’s own body cloaked her late mother’s clothes—which the artist has deconstructed into abstracted pieces of fabric—as well as photographs in which the artist has removed her body and instead used the fabric to represent its implied presence and highlight its absence.

The resulting images serve as visual meditations on loss, memory, and obscurity and act as a place where the artist can conjure her mothers’ presence using her own body as a medium.



Keisha Scarville (b. 1975, Brooklyn, NY) is a photo and mixed media artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Studio Museum of Harlem, Rush Arts Gallery, BRIC Arts Media House, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art. In addition, her work has appeared in publications including Vice, Transition, Nueva Luz, ARC, Small Axe, Oxford American, and The New York Times where she has also received critical review. She was awarded a grant through the Brooklyn Arts Council’s Community Arts Program and has participated in artist residencies at the Center for Photography at Woodstock; Lightwork Artist Residency Program; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Program; the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; and the Vermont Studio Center. Keisha Scarville is an adjunct faculty member at the International Center of Photography and is in the current exhibition The Last Place They Thought Of at the ICA Philadelphia.