Previewed: AMY ELKINS “Wallflower II” – An Exclusive ARTSY Online Exhibition Opening August 11th

Mark Moore Fine Art presents an exclusive ARTSY Online Exhibition of nine benchmark works by artist AMY ELKINS from her acclaimed Wallflower Series. 


In a continuing exploration into the many nuances of gender identity and masculinity the new exhibition by artist Amy Elkins, titled Wallflower II, turns the camera to masculine identifying individuals from a spectrum of backgrounds.  Much like Wallflower (shot between 2006-2008), the portraits stem from an ongoing intrigue regarding masculine identity when stripped of personal context – sitting bare within a constructed, impermanent environment.  Unlike Wallflower, which aimed the lens at cisgender men almost entirely photographed in my personal space, Wallflower II explores a much broader sense of masculine identity- shot in the personal space of strangers in urban and rural Georgia upon first meeting and found through online calls surrounding ideas of masculinity and gender in the American South.

Amy Elkins (b. 1979 Venice, CA) is a visual artist based in the Bay Area.  She received her BFA in Photography from the School of Visual Arts and her MFA in Art Practice from Stanford University.   She has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally, including at The High Museum of Art; South Bend Museum of Art; MSU Broad Museum; Kunsthalle Wien; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; North Carolina Museum of Art and more.  Her photographs have been published in American Photo, Conveyor, Dear Dave, EyeMazing, Financial Times, Harpers, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, NY Arts, New York Times, New Yorker, PDN, Real Simple, Stella and Vice among many others.  Elkins is a recipient of The Lightwork Artist-in-Residence, the Villa Waldberta International Artist-in-Residence, the Aperture Prize, the Latitude Artist-in-Residence, and the Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant among others.

Elkins has spent the past fifteen+ years researching, creating, and exhibiting work that explores the multifaceted nature of masculine identity as well as the psychological and sociological impacts of incarceration.  Her approach is series-based, steeped in research and oscillates between formal, conceptual and documentary with projects ranging from her earlier work, Wallflower (2004-2008), that looked into the nuances of gender identity, vulnerability and the female gaze to Elegant Violence (2010), which investigated aspects of male identity and athleticism through portraiture of young Ivy League rugby players moments after a game or Danseur (2012), that looked to young male ballet dancers moments after intensive training.  Starting in 2016 Elkins returned to the Wallflower portrait for a body of work that is ongoing.  The work aims to confront socially constructed ideas and standards surrounding gender, masculinity, vulnerability, and beauty in the American South. 

Throughout the making of these formal portrait projects, Elkins has simultaneously worked on several award-winning bodies of work confronting social justice issues like mass incarceration and capital punishment in America.  Her project Black is the Day, Black is the Night, exhibited through Mark Moore in 2018, spanned eight years and was made directly through correspondence with men serving life and death row sentences throughout the U.S.  It has been exhibited at Aperture Gallery, Houston Center for Photography, the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, The High Museum among many others.  Black is the Day, Black is the Night was published as Elkins’ first monograph in 2016.  It won the 2017 Lucie Independent Book Award.  It was Shortlisted for the 2017 Mack First Book Award and the 2016 Paris Photo-Aperture Foundation Photobook Prize as well as listed as one of the Best Photobooks of 2016 by TIME, Humble Arts Foundation, Photobook Store Magazine, and Photo-Eye among others.  

Her second book Anxious Pleasures was released in July 2022 and is now available through Kris Graves Projects.  Additional book publications include The Portrait. Photography as a Stage from Robert Mapplethorpe to Nan Goldin; The Sports Show: Athletics as Image and Spectacle; Photographs Not Taken; By the Glow of the Jukebox: The Americans List; Keeper of the Hearth; Next Generation: Contemporary American Photography; and The Photographer’s Playbook among others.

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