New York, NY - Expanding upon her iconic motif of bright feminine portraits with disquieting undertones, Los Angeles-based painter Kelly Reemtsen examines the concept of ‘value’ – how is it assigned, and how can existing frameworks for gauging value be challenged?
The women in Reemtsen’s paintings wear festive cocktail dresses that are odds with the utilitarian objects in their hands, such as carpentry equipment or power tools. The works are a celebration of high femme style and subverted expectations.
Value, a central piece in the exhibition, consists of six panels depicting a woman either fading or coming into focus. The composition manipulates color value and chroma to either reinforce or minimize the presence of the subject, relative to how the viewer approaches the work. Inspired in part by what the artist has identified as a “a new type of revolution for women,” Reemtsen’s latest subjects are both literally and figuratively emerging from the background.
A vinyl on the floor of the exhibition - stating the wage gap between men and women - provides a harsh contrast between the ‘ornamental’ or luxurious appearance of the women in the paintings and the hard facts of how standards of value can be harmful or limiting.
About Kelly Reemtsen
Kelly Reemtsen [b. 1967, Flint, Michigan] is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. She was born in Flint, MI in 1967, and studied fashion design and painting at Central Michigan University and California State University Long Beach.
She has studied printmaking since the 1990s, most recently as an artist in residence at the Venice Printmaking studio in Venice, Italy. In the past, she also studied etchings with Peter Petengill at Wingate Studio in New Hampshire, and screen printing with Tony Clough at Serio Press in Los Angeles. In September 2016, Reemtsen participated in the visiting artist printmaking program at the University of Central Florida's Flying Horse Editions studio. Kelly Reemtsen’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States, and is part of the Twentieth Century Fox and AT&T corporate collections.