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Theo Ellison

MA work

Naturalistic Fallacy

My work is born out of my attraction to, but distrust of, seductive imagery. Charisma, whether in people or in imagery wields a power over the mind that is inescapable, and this power has no bearing on the morality or truth being communicated.

The allure of the image and the relationship between seduction and moral ambiguity is an underlying theme; the advertisement aesthetic acting as an invitation, cajoling the viewer into enjoying an openly manipulative yet covertly sinister construction. This is linked with the idea of consent – the consent of the subject whose image is taken, and the viewer who cannot avert their gaze.

The title ‘Naturalistic Fallacy’ refers to a term of philosophical ethics that states that notions of right and wrong cannot be based on what is natural because some of the worst human tendencies such as rape and tribal violence are natural phenomena that occur in both humans and animals.

Sex and food, food and animals, and sex and death are the primal relationships explored in this series, as is the deification and beatification of the prosaic. In elevating a pigeon to a pose of dove-like sanctification, the anonymous city-dweller becomes celebrated, and its iridescent plumage comes to the fore. Our desires are met, yet the uncanny remains.

In marrying artifice with verisimilitude, our compulsion to flatten objects into consumable images acts as a mirror to reflect one’s unfettered desires. Delving into these triggers of compulsion, repulsion, and desire reveals their power and provides an iconoclastic dimension, however fleetingly, in which to view them.

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Humanities

    Programme

    MA Photography, 2017

  • My work is born out of my attraction to, but distrust of, seductive imagery. Charisma, whether in people or in imagery wields a power over the mind that is inescapable, and this power has no bearing on the morality or truth being communicated.

    The allure of the image and the relationship between seduction and moral ambiguity is an underlying theme; the advertisement aesthetic acting as an invitation, cajoling the viewer into enjoying an openly manipulative yet covertly sinister construction. This is linked with the idea of consent – the consent of the subject whose image is taken, and the viewer who cannot avert their gaze.

    In marrying artifice with verisimilitude, our compulsion to flatten objects into consumable images acts as a mirror to reflect one’s unfettered desires. Delving into these triggers of compulsion, repulsion, and desire reveals their power and provides an iconoclastic dimension, however fleetingly, in which to view them.

  • Degrees

  • BA Photography, Coventry University, 2014
  • Exhibitions

  • Becoming, Dyson Gallery, London, 2017; East Meets West, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham, 2016; East Meets West, Quad Gallery, Derby, 2016; Telling Tales, Liverpool Biennial Fringe, 45-61 Duke St, in association with Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, 2016; Offprint, Tate Modern, London, 2016; The Campaign, Dyson Gallery, London, 2016; Stewarts Law RCA Secret, Royal College of Art, London, 2016; New Art West Midlands, MAC Birmingham, Birmingham, 2016; Work in Progress Show, Royal College of Art, 2016; IMG19, Lanchester Gallery Projects, Coventry, 2014; 14/55, Gem Space Gallery, London, 2013