Millee Tibbs

Millee Tibbs

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Artist: Millee Tibbs
Vertical Metropolis, 2017-18
Edition 3/10
Silver gelatin print on fiber paper with custom frame (no glazing)
30" x 34"


Millee Tibbs’ work derives from her interest in photography’s ubiquity and the tension between its truth-value and inherent manipulation of reality.  Tibbs is Professor of Photography at Wayne State University, Detroit. She holds an MFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is the recipient of two MacDowell Colony fellowships, as well as multiple national and international artist residency awards. Her work has been published by the Humble Arts Foundation, NYC and the Aperture Foundation, and is held in the permanent collections of the George Eastman Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, the Chrysler Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the RISD Museum.


Mount Analogue: Landscape is a highly-charged symbol at the service of specific ideologies, representing the projected identity and desires of those who use it. While it can produce delight in the viewer, it can also naturalize power relations, and erase history and legibility. I am drawn to it precisely because of this duality.

My current work combines landscape photography and darkroom sleight of hand. Using photographic images of mountains as a surrogate for the sublime experience, “Mount Analogue” explores the paradoxical relationship between photography, which can only represent what is in front of the camera’s lens, and the ineffable nature of the sublime experience. Using a single negative and multiple exposures in the darkroom, I create illusory abstract geometries that overlay and redefine my romantic mountains photographs. Through this process, I examine the mind’s attempt to rationalize and tame that which exceeds the limits of perception.

The formal strategies I employ in this work are informed by Modernist Op Artists who used abstraction to challenge the nature of vision. Like them, I am interested in the space between what we see and what we know.  I employ these visual phenomena through photography, a medium intrinsically tied to optical vision.