Scott Richards Contemporary Art presents Detailed, a new series of high revved, high shine photorealist oil paintings by Cheryl Kelley. An opening cocktail reception for the artist will take place on Thursday, June 7, 5:30-7:30 pm.
In this new work, Kelley continues to explore her decades-long fascination with the slick, curvaceous, all-American muscle car. Kelley brings a uniquely female perspective to these objects that are almost synonymous with youthful bad-boy hyper-masculinity.
“The compositions flow from recognizable bumpers and hood scoops to rambunctious abstractions with colorfully gleaming showroom highlights,” said the Village Voice, “it ain’t a man’s world anymore.”
Kelley employs the reflections in the mirror-like finishes to provide subtle, yet engaging, depth to the work, giving the viewer insights into the people, culture, and place that surround the cars. In 67 Vette, for instance, we see the great detail of the glass and iron building the Corvette is being displayed in, creating an abstract composition within the reflection. And in Beautiful Buick we see two other cars and an onlooker, almost an entire second painting.
A primary focus of Kelley’s is surface: the candy-colored, sleek, eye-catching veneer of the car. Adding further emphasis, the smooth surface of the paint itself and use of high-gloss varnish on the paintings mimic the lush surfaces of her subjects.
Kelley works from photographs she takes at car shows and museums, which she then manipulates to render hyper-real imagery. The image is translated into paint using tight, blended brushstrokes. Variously, the paintings feature close-up views of a single car or several cars; the chosen angles emphasize the fluid lines of the designs, as well as the boldness and undeniable sex appeal.
Kelley recently relocated to Northern California from just outside Houston, Texas, where she had earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in 1992. Kelley’s work has been exhibited nationwide and is held in major collections throughout the United States; in addition, it has increasingly been met with critical acclaim and was recently featured on the cover of Harper’s magazine.