Miami University Art Museum to Acquire Artwork by Retiring Professor

Folio by Ellen Price

Folio, Ellen Price. 2008.


The Miami University Art Museum will acquire a work of art from retiring Professor of Printmaking Ellen Price. Fellow faculty and students wanted to celebrate Price's thirty-three years in the Department of Art, but were unable to hold a traditional celebration due to coronavirus. Professor Tracy Featherstone coordinated a campaign to shower her with letters recognizing this momentous occasion, and Professor Dana Saulnier worked with Rob Robbins, Chair of the Department of Art, and Bob Wicks, Miami University Art Museum Director, to coordinate the purchase of one of her prints for the permanent collection of the museum.

The 11" x 17" print, titled Folio, was created in 2008. In an ongoing printmaking series, Price uses photographs of relatives dating from the early twentieth century as the catalyst and source material for new imagery. The individual pictured in Folio is William Price, her great uncle, and younger brother of her paternal grandfather. 

Ellen Jean Price Artist Statement: The relocation of my relatives' images from the private sphere of a family album to the public sphere of a gallery wall echoes the place between public and private, known and unknown. 

I am the child of a bi-racial marriage (my father is African- American, and my mother is white). As an individual whose African-American descent is not apparent, the space between what is revealed and what is hidden is familiar psychic territory. In our home, the subject of race was both non-existent and ever-present. Growing up in ethnicity-conscious Queens, New York, during the 1960s, I was frequently asked the question, "What are you?" The portrait series serves to locate my identity between the revealed and the hidden and acknowledges the imperceptible pull, which the past exerts on the present. 

The partial or cropped view in this print reflects incomplete knowledge of the subject who bears my surname. There is, at once, a desire to know, connect, and understand and, at the same time, an acknowledgment of what I can never know.