19 August - 27 September 2017

Rubber Factory is pleased to present a group exhibition titled, Women in Colour, curated by Ellen Carey. The exhibition provides a scholarly context highlighting women and color photography. Colour, the British English spelling, references color photography’s origins in England.

Ellen Carey’s research on the origins and history of color photography note the pivotal contributions to the field by the British Victorian, Anna Atkins (1799-1871). Atkins was the first woman photographer, albeit camera-less, and the first in color – using the cyanotype, which yielded a Prussian Blue. Sir John Herschel, the British scientist, taught her his method. She partnered it with Talbot’s photogram (1834) — his paper negative image produced a palette of earthy browns. Atkins’s experimental cyanotypes are echoed in the exhibition by Meghann Riepenhoff’s contemporary cyanotypes, which are exposed to the elements and become dazzling documents of nature in a multitude of blue and golden tones. Other artists included, such as Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons, who used color in photography in sharp opposition to contemporaries still married to black and white, are prime examples of making color a deliberate choice in their practices. Cindy Sherman’s chameleon-like roles are also notable for how the use of color, instead of black and white, interrupts the pretense of her series as a period piece. While Carrie Mae Weems’s piece in the exhibition, Color: Real and Imagined (2014), illustrates the tensions between erasure and visibility through the use of screen-printed color blocks; the visual trope of the grid is brought to life by the use of colors which overwhelm and consume their subjects, becoming a warning for the over simplification of the world.

The exhibition also posits a link between tetrachromacy – the genetic phenomenon most common in individuals with two X Chromosomes, allowing them to perceive an exponentially larger color spectrum as a result of having four retinal cones instead of three – and the wealth of women practitioners throughout history who chose to use color. When considered with other scientific findings such as color blindness occurring 20 times more frequently in men (XY Chromosomes), it suggests that women may have an increased understanding of color.

Amanda Means | Carrie Mae Weems | Cindy Sherman | Ellen Carey | Elinor Carucci | Jan Groover | Liz Nielsen | Laurie Simmons | Patty Carroll | Meghann Riepenhoff | Mariah Robertson | Marion Belanger | Moira McDonald | Penelope Umbrico | Susan Derges

Rubber Factory, 29c Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
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Carrie Mae Weems is an UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts MFA Alumna. For more about her work, please visit:

Image Credit:
Carrie Mae Weems, Color: Real and Imagined, 2014.
Image is courtesy of Artist Carrie Mae Weems and the Rubber Factory Gallery, New York.

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