Keltie Ferris' Second Glorious Exhibit at Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Keltie Ferris returns for a second solo exhibit at Chelsea gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash with a new body of work consisting of twelve paintings and several body prints. This is the first time these separate works are being displayed together and are a visual delight from the moment you enter the gallery. Inspired by a recent trip to Los Angeles, the works pulsate and throb with an intense emotional energy. Ferris, a Yale MFA grad and Brooklyn-based artist, is an abstract painter who works with pastels, spray paint, oils and acrylic. Influenced by Ab Ex giants such as Stella and Albers, those references are strong and evident, and some of her pixelated compositions have been likened to German contemporary artist Albert Oehlen. Yet in pieces such as La Estrella and W(A(V)E)S, one can't help but see the looser, softer fluidity of a Hans Hoffman painting. The energy shifts dramatically in Cleopatra, a majestic, grandiose piece befitting of its title and the crown jewel of the exhibit. In Story, a more vulnerable and sensitive mood steps in emanating melancholy.
From Ferris' Bushwick studio the dazzling Manhattan skyline shines in the foreground which indirectly appears in her work. Ferris has acknowledged that she's stimulated by New York's energy and her canvases seem to provide glittering aerial views of the New York grid system. In the past Ferris has described her paintings as ' being able to see through other worlds', this is perhaps translated in oRiOn, where a sparkling, resplendent constellation is divinely represented on a canvas.
Ferris also introduces several new body prints which reveal a more intimate, sensual side to her artistry. These works on paper were originally inspired by Yves Klein's Anthropometry series (where Klein used nude female models as 'living brushes') but eventually switched gears to follow David Hammons' more direct approach, using her own body as a tool. Ferris initially experimented with her naked body (using natural oils and powdered pigments) but evolved into using her pared down studio uniform, which she declared were 'free from props and provided for a more pure narrative'. In Ray and Jack there is a powerful masculine stance that's heavily present, but in Facade that energy is counterbalanced with an exposed and unguarded element. Ferris who is white, in her late thirties, and openly gay knows there is much speculation about the messages in her work but maintains that who she really is can be found in these revelatory body prints. Keltie Ferris will be on view through October 17th at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York.