2018 Joan Kelly – Invisible Personas

April 24 – May 19, 2018

Reception: April 26, 5-8 pm

Discussion  April 28, 2-3 followed by reception 3-6

Blue Mountain Gallery presents member artist, Joan Kelly in an exhibition of works entitled “Invisible personas”. While it is true our faces carry our identity to the outside world, yet how ironic is it that these very faces (identities) remain invisible to ourselves. Just as the surgeon can open up our chest and see our heart, yet she cannot see the intentions or innermost thoughts of the individual who holds them. In this collection of work, Joan Kelly, an artist who has lived in Singapore for the last 13 years, attempts to paint invisible personas by reaching beyond the usual boundaries and perceptions that separate groups of people from one another.

By living amongst specific communities, Kelly was welcomed and subsequently developed a reciprocal artistic relationship with brothel workers in Kolkata, Pehlwan (wrestlers) of Varanasi India, and recently, a group of young Moroccan girls living in a detention center in Fez. The intimacy of the encounters creates an environment of exploration between the artist and her subjects, who became participants in the creative process. The paintings that emerged reveal the invisible personas that became visible through the process. Also included in this show is work made as Kelly took on the role of resident artist at University of Tasmania, her subject became the charred remains of devastating fires. Here too, the personas of the ancient trees offered themselves to the artist.

There is a retrospective book for the exhibition Initial Personas, designed by Cindy Wang with colour images of forty-five paintings by Joan Marie Kelly, and 5 essays in total by people who have played an intimate role in Joan Marie’s work. Authors are artist Sarah Schuster teaching at Oberlin College, Bhaskar Mukhopadhyay cultural theorist who first brought Joan to Kolkata, Pamela Karimi an Iranian art historian teaching at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and New York’s art critic and editor of on-line journal Artcritical, David Cohen. Joan gives a narrative of the encounters in Southeast Asia that are reflected in the paintings throughout the book. Initial Personas can be purchased at Blue Mountain Gallery.