she / her / hers
Creative Disciplines and Mediums
Bennie Flores Ansell is a Houston based visual artist. Flores Ansell was born in Manila, Philippines and her formative years were lived in the United States. She is a Professor in the Art Department of the Houston Community College. Her degrees include an M.F.A. from the University of Houston, a B.A. from the University of South Florida and she was an American Photography Institute Fellow at New York University.
Flores Ansell’s work has evolved over a career spanning more than 20 years. The work initially dealing with concepts of race, ethnicity, beauty and the objectified female, further led to an exploration of the of loss and retaining of the photographic object due to the rapid change within the medium, as well as the inherent racism built into the chemical make-up of color film. Flores Ansell’s pursuit of different conceptual ideas holds her work consistent through the use of light, shadow, migration patterns, observations of the tactile qualities of film and manipulation of the photographic image.
Flores Ansell’s work has been exhibited regionally and more notably in a group show at The International Center for Photography, NYC; Seattle Art Museum; and The San Diego Museum of Art as part of the Only Skin Deep Exhibition curated by Coco Fusco in 2004. Through the Fotofest Meeting Place her work has been exhibited internationally at Festival De La Luz in Argentina, in a site-specific installation at the Daegu Photography Biennale in South Korea in 2016 and included in two group shows at Patricia Conde Galeria in Mexico City.
I deconstruct the tools of analog photography to create migration installations and unique objects. My work deals with migration of people around the globe, the analog vs. the digital in photographic materials, representation and race. In using discarded art slides and film, I deconstruct and manipulate the materials in an act that places the Western Art Canon on the wall and in flight.
I began experimenting with film sprockets as a way to pay homage to the action of film moving through a camera. At the creation of color film, the chemicals necessary to bring out darker skin tones in the exposure were omitted, giving film photography an inherent racial bias toward white as an “ideal” skin tone. These perforations have existed as a structural part of the film roll since the beginning of color film— a simple, fundamental construction to advance an image forward. Before color corrected film, however, this movement left many behind. The now discarded film holds the visible and invisible and at the same time presence and absence. By removing these film sprockets from their accompanying images, they take on an intrigue all their own, free from the substantive elements that once made them discriminatory.
Pinning film and threading the sprockets into a single corded structure that create strands of time. The timelines of film are layered, stacked, and crocheted, making a 2 -dimensional flat surface into 3-dimensions. The film made objects are on a temporal loop, mimicking a history that keeps falling back on itself.
Another piece of the deconstructed art slides are the glass mounts. From these I made glass slide boxes as a collection that represents the weight of a missing image. Some of the compositions are based on the American bond masonry pattern. Slides like these were once used to teach the Western canon of art. Now, they carry the burden of absence.