Ellen Carey, MFA 1978

Ellen Carey.

How has graduating UB's MFA program impacted you?

I had wonderful, life-changing experience at SUNY@Buffalo, now called UB. Followed by my undergraduate days at KCAI-Kansas City Art Institute, it was incredible to be there then, in the mid-1970s.

Photography as well as contemporary art, was just beginning to gain ground, now a global, it and my work was part of the avant-garde there with the noted conceptual photographer, Cindy Sherman and the sculptor/artist Robert Longo, who founded Hallwalls, and the late-great curator, Linda Cathcart of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (AKAG) where I took museum studies.

I exhibited my first images at AKAG in their now, well-known “In Western NY” group exhibition, and my MFA Thesis Exhibition of my painted black and white “Self-Portraits” was my first solo exhibition at Hallwalls in 1978.

This work also received a CAPS grant, allowing me to move to NYC (I was the youngest artist to receive it) and it also won me an artist-in-residence at Lightworks in Syracuse; this work was included in a group exhibition at PS 1 (now MoMA PS1) in “The Altered Photograph” curated by Linda Cathcart.

After 55 one-person exhibitions, and hundreds of group ones, plus many essays published as an independent scholar, numerous accolades, including of the top five booths as a “must see” at the recent Paris PHOTO, my work highlights the experimental in art, along with the sea changes of our society.

UB has served for the foundation for standards of excellence in my career, in experimental photography, independent scholarship and research, plus writing, for over 40 years. I highly recommend this MFA program for its brilliant juxtaposition in the changes in visual education, Buffalo is surrounded by cultural institutions of the highest standards, along with a lively arts scene and a dedicated faculty with great credentials.

The four C’s live there: Concept, Context, Content, Citation, all make a good formula for the tripod of successes: work hard, work smart and work hard at it!


Ellen Carey

Associate Professor of Photography
Independent Scholar

Hartford Art School
University of Hartford