Beyond paint and canvas

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Friend, client, collaborator, sister in LA well definitely an inspiration to me! I met Kelly Reemtsen a few years ago now, after a very random correspondence in regard to a piece of furniture. Since then the renowned American painter has become all of the aforementioned to me.

Our friendship burgeoned when Kelly asked if Fogg Associates would work with her to self publish her first book. We naturally worked on all the design, personal branding, retouching and print production. In addition, and after getting to know Kelly well from dozens of Skype calls across two continents, Kelly asked if the written content of the book could be a dialogue between the two of us. This was a great honour and one of the highlights of my career. Since its publication, it has won a global outstanding achievement award.

I now write this note on the eve of Kelly’s latest show at the De Buck Gallery in Chelsea, New York. There is still paint, lots of it. There are still iconic dresses adorning Kelly’s subjects. There are still the provocative props. Yet there is a new dimension, an arresting sense of anticipation.

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The paintings present the models stood upon pieces of furniture. The new works of course embody the iconography and empowerment that has come to define her work. They still present the subjects in a stylistically expedient way – where the canvas isn’t overloaded with superfluous information. But now there is a powerful force that forms a narrative as opposed to a singular moment.

Kelly explores the idea of ‘breaking the glass ceiling’ and how the modern woman is breaking gender stereotypes. In the new pieces, typified by ‘Top Job’, where the representation of the modern woman is seemingly precariously poised upon a ladder, stool or chair, I am drawn to consider how the subject arrived at this moment and what is next in stall for her. Are we to think the ‘glass ceiling’ is prohibiting the abilities? Or has the ceiling been breached and new ground been achieved in shifting perceptions of gender stereotypes? I believe it is the latter.

On this eve we toast not just the success of Kelly’s show but moreover what this show achieves beyond the paint and canvas. Find out more about the exhibition here.