Sean Ratliff

Artist Statement

Sean Ratliff makes photographs and media art. By investigating visual language on a meta-level, Ratliff creates with daily, recognizable elements, an unprecedented situation in which the viewer is confronted with the conditioning of his own perception and has to reconsider his biased position.


His practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for maneuvering with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of photography. These works resound and resonate with regional cultural narratives. The work is cool and neutral, yet vibrant in hue.


His work urges us to renegotiate photography as being part of a reactive medium, commenting on oppressing themes in our contemporary society. With a subtle minimalistic approach, he tries to grasp at visual language. Transformed into art, language becomes an ornament. At that moment, ambiguities and indistinctions, which are inherent to the phenomenon, come to the surface.


His works focus on the inability of communication to visualize reality, the attempt of dialogue, the dissonance between form and content and the dysfunctions of language. In short, the lack of clear references are key elements in the work.



Sean Ratliff was born in Rocky Ford, Colorado in 1970 and grew up in the Four Corners region of New Mexico. His early inspiration came from exposure to punk flyers and action sports magazines. A later chance encounter with Adobe Illustrator led him to study in the field of Graphic Design. After earning a BFA in Visual Communication from Northern Arizona University, he headed to the Bay Area to work for Thrasher Magazine. Following his California stint, he returned to the Land of Enchantment to focus on establishing himself as a fine art photographer. Ratliff currently lives in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico.

Ratliff - Untitled car n church.JPG
Ratliff - Ode to Stephen Ratliff.JPG

Sean Ratliff. Untitled (Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico), 2016. 

Color photograph. 18” x 14”. Courtesy of the artist.

Sean Ratliff. Ode to Steven Shore (Velarde, New Mexico), 2016

Color photograph. 18” x 14”. Courtesy of the artist.