Elia Alba: Busts

Image: Elia Alba, Busts (Catlin), photo transfer on fabric, acrylic, thread, metal armature, 2009 / ©Elia Alba

Image: Elia Alba, Busts (Catlin), photo transfer on fabric, acrylic, thread, metal armature, 2009 / ©Elia Alba

Press Release / December 10 - January 17, 2010

New York, NY (November, 2009): Black & White Gallery is very pleased to present Busts - the dynamic and thought provoking exhibition by the New York based artist Elia Alba.

The exhibition features 30 busts placed on pedestals to emulate a presentation of classical art and artifacts. Alba transformed unique photographs she took of her close family and friends into life size head and chest sculptures. Utilizing her typical manipulation of photography, fabric, and portraiture, Elia Alba’s latest series, Busts, removes all of these elements from their usual 2-D existence and creates 3-D sculptures that convey both the materiality of the medium and the humanity of the subjects. Each bust stares at the viewer, some forlorn and serious, others smirking knowingly. Some busts stand alone and resolute, such as Catlin, whose hair covers much of the bust, while other busts stand in relation to themselves, as in Two Cacys, where Alba duplicated one person in order to shine a light on his dual nature. Whereas in previous bodies of work, Alba has attempted to obfuscate race, gender, and identity with masks and staging, with Busts, Alba reveals her subjects’ true personas. 

Elia Alba (*1962) is a multi-media artist whose work has been exhibited and screened at various national and international institutions, including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; El Museo del Barrio; The RISD Museum; Valencia Institute of Modern Art, IVAM, Spain; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; ARCO, Madrid; Jersey City Museum; Science Museum, London; and ITAU Cultural Institute, Sao Paolo, Brazil, and most recently the 10th Havana Biennial. Her awards have included the Whitney Museum Van Lier Foundation Fellowship 2001; Studio Museum in Harlem, Artist in Residence Fellowship Program (1998-1999), New York Foundation for the Arts Grant (Crafts 2002 and Photography 2008); Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant (2002) and Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (2002 and 2008). Her work has been reviewed in the Art Nexus, The Guardian, Time Out, FlashArt, Tema Celeste and The New York Times. Ms. Alba received her Bachelor of Arts (Specials Honors Curriculum) from Hunter College in 1994 where she graduated magna cum laude and completed the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 2001. Elia Alba lives and works in Queens, NY.