Joan Marie Kelly

 Joan Marie Kelly   “Invisible Personas”

April 24 – May 19, 2018

  • Opening Reception    April 26,  5-8pm                    

  • Discussion: April 28, 2-3pm Joan Kelly will host a discussion titled: ‘Serving Community in a  Market-driven Culture of Mass Distractions”

  • Reception follows  April 28th discussion,  3-6pm

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.

Past Exhibitions at Blue Mountain Gallery

New Member Exhibition August 18 – 29, 2015

2011 Invitational Exhibition at Blue Mountain Gallery:  Zones of Conflict


Joan teaches at Nanyang Technological University, School of Art Design and Media in Singapore, since 2005.

She attended Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and graduated Magna Cum laude with a BFA in Painting. Kelly received a MFA in Painting at Western Connecticut State. While in the USA besides painting many mural commissions, selling and exhibiting work, Kelly founded and directed an art studio for adults with disabilities. This studio is still successful today. Her introduction to Asia began in 1986 when she traveled to Indonesia carrying the pictures, letters and money from Indonesia foreign workers in New York to their families on Java. Presently, this thread has continued through portraits of people on the fringes of society in Asia. Her most recent exhibitions include solo exhibition at Blue Mountain Gallery New York City, titled, “The Public Art of Joan Kelly: Zones of Conflict, solo exhibition Oresman Gallery Smith College Mass. titled “Brothels of Rabindra Sarani, Portraits of Twenty Women” , and solo Exhibition title: “Initial Encounters” in the Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, Curator, Alka Pande, the 2012, Biennale D’Arte Internationale Di Roma, Sale del Bramante and group exhibition, and group exhibition “Women” Ahuja, Museum for the Arts, Kolkata India, Curator Anvita Singh

Blue Mountain Gallery | 547 W. 27th Street, Suite 200 , New York, NY 10001 | Wednesday-Saturday noon-6PM | Phone: 646-486-4730

© Copyright Blue Mountain Gallery