Last Thursday I attended the opening of artist Keltie Ferris at Sunday gallery in the lower east side. I was lucky to meet her and her work last year through a previous gallery stint and am was very excited to experience this new body of work.
Keltie seems to take on a multi-layered approach to creating form and content, with a process that involves merging oil, acrylic and spray paint onto a single canvas formulating nearly abstracted mask figures that are barely representative. Her colors are jarring with silver and metallic foiled hues atop and under luster yellows, neon blues, crimson reds and sheer violets. Her strokes are never even or repetitive and includes a variety from dots, to lashes, scratches, peels, cuts, tears, both long and short. This multifariousness can be disorienting at first until you take a step back and, wait a second, is that face I see? Why yes! There are the eyes, the nose and a toothless grin! It’s a crude silly doofy mask created as a result of this spontaneous combustive process of layering and mark making and its this explosive conclusion that makes Keltie’s work mesmerizing and addictive.
Ragnarok, shown above was the highlight of the show, which consisted of 5 of these large expressive organic yet deceivingly calculated images. The marks are not as gestural as the others but there is a uniformity in the way the yellow dots form a constellation pattern, or perhaps a topographical view of a city lit by a constellation of lights, the black resembling roads cutting systems for a silver sliver of buildings. There’s also something very animated and video-game-y about them, like you would see this as a setting for urban pacman. If you look close you will see folded layers and cuts made from these layers of paint and this abrasive texture adds an exploratory element, as if the artist kept adding without deducting layer upon layer of color and stroke. It adds density and silence to a highly populated color scheme. These paintings were pretty mind boggling and I can’t wait to see more.
If you’re in Miami (I find all these people are going only AFTER deciding not to go, fooey), Keltie will have a booth to herself with Sunday at NADA the first week of December. Enjoy the beach, enjoy the masked beauty, enjoy the perverts (I definitely won’t be missing that).
Images via Sunday website.