Clay Ketter, Barrio Ghost Cartoon, painting, 11 March–1 April 2021

Cecilia Hillström Gallery is pleased to present Clay Ketter’s fourth solo show at the gallery. In the series of painted photographs Barrio Ghost Cartoon, biomorphic forms occupy the more or less monochrome areas in each field. The photographic motifs of these pieces, partition walls or medianeras, were shot in 2003 and 2005 in the barrios of El Mercat, El Pilar and El Carmen in Valençia. At that time, the barrios of the old city were undergoing a voracious gentrification. Motifs captured on film one week were gone the next, and today, of course, none of them remain. Nor do most of the former inhabitants.

The biomorphic manner in these pieces may seem ”new” to those who have followed Clay Ketter’s work, but it is most certainly not new to the artist. Ketter’s biomorphic vocabulary has its roots in his formative interest in the natural sciences. What he saw in his microscope as a young boy—amoebae and paramecia, plankton—or frog egg clusters in the pond, have stayed with him. This language lay dormant, latent for the most part of Ketter’s artistic development, surfacing now and again during his art-educational years and thereafter. These forms come from within and allow Ketter to express more corporal things. There is a dancing, musical aspect. They are not simply projected upon the context at hand, but are rather allowed to nestle themselves into place in soft compliance.

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