Kelly Duffield’s paintings contain collage-driven scenes that are often strange, surreal and sufficiently ambiguous to evoke the viewer’s imagined or projected meanings. The imagery emerges from a process of appropriation, contemplation and imagination and is charged with psychological and symbolic import. Allowing found images to influence the narrative brings Duffield’s subconscious thoughts to the work and results in combining imagery in unexpected ways to convey unspoken thoughts and feelings. She often uses animals to represent different aspects of human traits, sensibilities and desires. She also uses white kitchen-string (more typically used for tying up meat before cooking), symbolizing the complexities and frustrations of womanhood.
When creating her narratives, Duffield begins with collage elements and take cues from them, painting and drawing over and around them, sometimes layer upon layer. She pulls imagery from a variety of sources, old and new, including vintage Scandinavian design magazines for many of her furniture pieces. The collage pieces are not simply affixed to the artwork, but manipulated to enhance or alter the color and perception of depth. In contrast, Duffield’s backgrounds are painted as a flattened space. The viewer is invited into a puzzling, albeit intimate world.