Elisabeth KleyTriple Masquerade: Ink Drawings, Vessels, Notebooks
February 28 - March 30
Opening reception Friday, February 28, 6-9pm
The drawings of Elisabeth Kley seem to !ow as freely as water in abundant abandon, morphing slightly here and there, in their playful reverie. Her work captures her own sense of ‘arcadia’ the touchstone theme of great French artists of the past. Designed to theatrically accessorize the domestic interiors of a !amboyant world, her ceramic works are created for the imagined homes of aging dandies that she has been drawing for years, including Salvador Dali, Erte, Coco Chanel, Elsie de Wolfe, Jack Smith, and Ethyl Eichelberger.
Kley sometimes uses decorative faces on bottles because she likes “when things look at you, as if they are ready to come alive and change, like a drag performer putting on makeup.” Many of her visual references — garish Russian textiles, Renaissance and Baroque grotesque ornamentation, and Islamic art — are translated motifs as found in paintings and set designs by such artists as Matisse, Van Dongen, Dufy, and Natalia Goncharova. In her work, she filters these fine art and decorative elements back onto actual quasi-utilitarian objects.
Although Kley makes ceramic vessels, she does not consider them craft. They are instead hybrids of paintings and sculptures. Each bottle is unique, and she executes numerous drawings and watercolors before moving on to its decoration. In fact, a kind of triple masquerade takes place. Decorative elements move from the images that inspire them to works on paper, and then back onto the emphatically useless earthenware vessels.
Elisabeth Kley is a New York artist and writer whose solo exhibitions of ceramics, watercolors, drawings, and prints have taken place in the John Tevis Gallery in Paris, France (2012), Georgian National Gallery in Tbilisi (2011), Le Petit Versailles (2010) and Rose Burlingham (2009) in New York, and Momenta Art (2007) in Brooklyn. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Haunch of Venison, Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, Lesley Heller Workspace, Exit Art and Rupert Goldsworthy Gallery in New York; A. M. Richard Fine Art and Storefront in Brooklyn; Gavlak Gallery in Palm Beach; and Season in Seattle. She has been nominated for several grants and was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant in 1998. She is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of Momenta Art.
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