Mitchell-Innes & Nash presents an exhibition of new work by Keltie Ferris. Titled (F(U(T( )U)R)E), the exhibition features roughly ten new paintings. This is the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Engaging with the ongoing discourse on the possibilities and limitations of painting in contemporary art, Keltie Ferris’s new body of work continues her signature use of the spray gun to explore those boundaries. However, the paintings in (F(U(T( )U)R)E) also mark a discernable departure from the artist’s previous works on canvas. In these new pieces, arabesque curves in thick graphite paint succeed the swathes of colored haze of the artist’s prior work. These forms, reminiscent at first glance of cloisonné metalwork or the window frames of Art Nouveau architecture, are also part of a conversation that refers back to the inheritance of Surrealism, Futurism and the “apocalyptic wallpaper” of Abstract Expressionism. Additionally, the artist has noted that they are motifs from nature, mimicking the outlines of vines, flower petals or cresting waves.
In certain paintings, like I O, the artist continues to use the pointillist marks of earlier pieces with a subtle pattern of stenciled squares. However, the paintings in the current exhibition are now punctuated by what Ferris calls “erasures”- zones of wet paint that have been wiped with rag-cloth and turpentine, always in straight lines across the canvas vertically or horizontally. These erasures not only guide the viewer’s eyes across the composition but also, in their effacement, open up new ways of seeing by way of negation. For the artist, one of the objectives of this new body of work is to allow for and capture these moments of deliberation.
Ferris counterbalances these acts of removal with areas of accumulation. Each painting features raised polygonal shapes, formed from a mixture of oil paint and marble dust. Applied with a palette knife and custom stencils, these impasto sections expand the parameters of painting by adding elements of sculpture and screen-printing to the surface of each canvas. In doing so, these raised shapes not only complicate figure-ground relationships but also lend an object quality to each painting that counters the optical mirage produced by the erasures and curvilinear lines.
The gallery is also pleased to announce a forthcoming monograph on Keltie Ferris, to be released in late 2018, which will feature a cross-section of the artist’s work as well as essays by John Yau and Wayne Koestenbaum.