Keltie Ferris: *O*P*E*N*

October 6, 2018 – February 3, 2019
Location: North Building, second floor
Free with admission.

The Speed Art Museum is proud to present a solo exhibition of paintings and works on paper by the artist Keltie Ferris. Born in Louisville in 1977, Ferris offers a fresh approach to abstract painting and the exploration of the artist’s identity through the body. Featuring artworks from the last eight years, Keltie Ferris: *O*P*E*N* celebrates an artist who thoughtfully examines the language and history of painting and the meaning of being an artist today.

For the past fourteen years Ferris has employed techniques that defy expectations. Using spray paint, he adopts a language associated with graffiti and home décor and deftly applies it to his canvases, creating effects which range from pointillist explosions and vibrational blurs, to arabesque curves and swirls of lines. His use of the palette knife, particularly in recent years, led Ferris to build up thick impasto areas of color that project forward on the canvas, enhancing the illusion of depth.

Through this survey of work, Keltie Ferris: *O*P*E*N* charts an evolution in Ferris’s practice, from his paintings that evoke star constellations, digital pixilation, and networks of waves and light, to his most recent body of work, which prominently uses spray-painted lines, raised polygonal shapes, and areas of erasure, to create dynamic and complex compositions.

In addition to paintings, this exhibition will include a series of new body prints. Ferris creates these prints by covering himself in oil, laying atop a sheet of paper, and applying pigment to the paper’s surface. The resulting prints have an intense, vibrant color and a deliberately androgynous appearance, highlighting the artist’s fluid gender identity. Ferris began creating body prints in 2013, drawing inspiration from Jasper Johns’s “Skin” prints and David Hammons’s body prints from the 1960s. In contrast to Yves Klein’s Anthropometry series, in Ferris’s work the female body becomes an active agent in performing and blurring gender identities. Through his prints, Ferris highlights a personal, indexical relationship to his work, while simultaneously summoning the idea of an army of citizens or an electorate.

Missed the Gallery Walk Through with the artist? Watch it now.

About the artist:

Keltie Ferris lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His artwork has been featured in the New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, and ARTnews.

Ferris graduated with a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2006. His recent solo exhibitions include Body Prints and Paintings at the University Art Museum at SUNY Albany, New York (2016); Paintings and Body Prints at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (2015); Keltie Ferris: Doomsday Boogie at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2014); and Man Eaters at the Kemper Museum, Kansas City (2009-10).  In 2014 he was awarded the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Painting by the Academy of Arts and Letters.

Exhibition season support provided by

A. Cary Brown and Steven E. Epstein
Paul and Deborah Chellgren
Debra and Ronald Murphy



Contemporary exhibition support provided by

Augusta and Gill Holland
Emily Bingham and Stephen Reily


Additional support for the exhibition is provided by

Susan and Jeffrey Callen
Henry Heuser, Jr.
Jody Howard
Betty and David Jones
Lisa and Dan Jones
Valle Jones and Ann Coffey
Ladonna Nicolas and Larry Shapin
Sarah and Chuck O’Koon
Jane Welch
Mary Gwen Wheeler and David Jones, Jr.