My paintings contain elements of drawing and collage to create scenes that are often strange, surreal and sufficiently ambiguous to evoke the viewer’s imagined or projected meanings. My imagery emerges from everyday life, sometimes from a specific story or memory, but always charged with psychological, symbolic and surreal import.
When creating these narratives I begin with the collage elements and take cues from them, painting and drawing over and around them, sometimes layer upon layer. I also use white string: sometimes connecting flower-minds, sometimes stitched in the background, always telling part of the story.
This body of work emerged after more than a 20-year separation from making art in earnest. Near the end of college, and in the interest of getting a secure job, I changed my formal path from art to law. Now after years of practicing law and having a family, I have returned to art as profession. My work is inspired by my life, by family, relationships, motherhood, feminism and modern consumerism/materialism.
Even though it was years ago, I am still very much influenced by artists I was exposed to during a college internship at Universal Limited Art Editions in New York — artists like Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Elizabeth Murray, Jane Hammond and Kiki Smith. Another strong influence is my husband’s Danish heritage, the art and design culture of Denmark. My family travels to Denmark regularly and on a recent visit I found the work of L.A. Ring particularly stirring. Ring is said to have pioneered both symbolism and social realism in Denmark; his paintings depict scenes from ordinary life but often with a strange/uncomfortable mood. I’m also crazy about the surreal work of Hans Christian Rylander. My current body of work developed out of a course I took at Anderson Ranch Arts Center with New York artist Lucy Fradkin in the summer of 2017.
In 2018, I have been lucky show at Redline’s 5th Annual Juried Exhibition and at Core New Art Space’s Flora & Fauna Exhibition. I had a piece in BMoCA’s ARTMIX event in September and will open my first solo exhibition on December 6, 2018 at 15th Street Gallery here in Boulder.
[Kelly Duffield grew up in Oklahoma City, OK. She has a BFA in art (graphic design) and a BA in art history. She and her husband Erik Duffield live in Boulder, CO with their five children.]
photo credit: Beck Kidd