Dear Mr. Kelly
Dear Mr. Kelly re-contextualizes seven of Ellsworth Kelly’s paintings produced from 1954 to 1965. They are created entirely of nylon net ruffles. During the 1970’s women’s art movement, women artists’ adaptation of traditionally feminine materials and ways of making: such as quilting, knitting, sewing and weaving was ridiculed and consigned to the category of craft not art.
I play with Clement Greenberg’s objection to ‘decoration’ (surface attractiveness) versus ‘high’ art (abstraction). In these constructions, I subvert Kelly’s use of hard line, the economical figure / ground relationship, size / scale and the absence of the hand / process. Figure / ground still plays a compositional role but it is secondary in these constructions. The line is reduced to a fuzzy, frilly boundary and the hand and the work’s tactility is emphasized. The paintings’ original size is diminished by half and relegates the work to an intimate and decorative realm. The viewer’s impulse is to draw near – to run the hand over the surface. The intent of the work is to realize Kelly’s images as luxurious and accessible in order to disrupt the monumentalism, in favor of the diminutive.