San Francisco, California, June 17, 2009. Scott Richards Contemporary Art presents
HEAVY METAL, a new series of iconic, highly charged oil paintings by Texas-based artist Cheryl Kelley. The show will open September 10, with a reception for the artist from 5:30-7:30, and will continue through September 26, 2009.
Powerful; luxurious; dangerous; elegant; sexy. These are some of the words that come to mind when viewing Cheryl Kelley’s current paintings of cars as objects of desire. Using a super-realistic technique with a richly colored, high-gloss finish (like the cars she paints), Kelley celebrates the mystique of the high-end automobile and the way we relate to it.
“I see the depth of the world in the reflections on the side of cars,” says the artist. And in fact, the works subtly affect the viewer on a deep, conceptual level, although on first glance they are simply exquisitely rendered representations of the subject. Kelley’s works beckon us to focus on the cars’ exaggerated orientation, sensual lines, and slick surfaces, while simultaneously reminding us of their underlying force and power. Like sexy pinups in a magazine, her highly reflective oil on aluminum paintings instantly appeal on a visceral level, seeming to reflect our own passions and desires.
As Kelley herself states, “These big engine cars, seemingly fueled by raw testosterone, were ironically most definitely feminine in form. As a twentieth century American icon, the muscle car is remembered for its speed and power. My paintings are about the feminine sensuality of the surfaces, the Mel Ramos-like perfection of female form… The reflections on the surfaces of the automobiles allow the viewer to go deeper, to see something more than the form.”
To create the dynamic compositions, the artist uses her own photographs taken on frequent visits to classic car shows. However, unlike the pure photorealists of the 1960s and 70s, Kelley broadly manipulates both the original photography and the painting itself, producing works that are best classified as hyper-realistic. She has recently begun painting on aluminum, for its smooth, dense surface qualities.
Cheryl Kelley resides near Houston, Texas, where she earned her BA degree from the University of Houston in 1992. Her work has been exhibited nationwide, and is garnering a growing amount of attention from critics and major collectors alike.