PAINTER / PRINTMAKER / POET

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Sixth Annual Prints + Pots @ Chase's Garage

Hello world :) 

I'm pleased to announce that six of my prints will be hanging at Chase's Garage in York, ME from May 5th, through July 15th, so you'll all have plenty of time to make your way up there! 

 Pulled from an email blast about the show from Chase's Garage; Their logo looking good in front of one of my prints!

Pulled from an email blast about the show from Chase's Garage;
Their logo looking good in front of one of my prints!

This is the sixth year running that Ned & Cait (master-minds behind Chase's Garage, and fellow NHIA alumni) have hosted a Prints + Pots themed show. This year, all work is by NHIA alums, which means I'll be showing alongside lots of friends and former classmates including: Cody Mack (whom I showed with at Kimball Jenkins this February), Meag Snavely (Head of the Currier Museum of Art's ceramic dept.), Lyell Castonguay (BIG INK!), and others!

For info RE: Chase's Garage and the upcoming show, visit their site; you might even recognize my print featured in their blog post ;) 

The opening reception for the show is next Saturday, May 5th from 4:00 - 8:00, but like I said, it'll remain up until July 15th, giving you plenty of time to check it out.

Ali KellerComment
The challenge of painting with intent

Hey friends :)

I had the privilege of speaking with Angie Sykeny of The Hippo this afternoon about my work and influences, the upcoming show at Kimball Jenkins, and a million other things. I'd like to personally thank Mike Howat, who curated the show Figuratively Speaking, which opens this month, and to extend my thanks to Angie for reaching out to me for this story. I also want to take a minute to apologize to whomever is challenged with editing our interview; hahaha, I had too much coffee and a stomach filled with butterflies the whole time, so I'm sure there are a few tangential ramblings that could be scrapped! 

Talking with Angie brought me to think about the implications of claiming to create work about the environment – it's such a catch-all topic, and I say it inspires me and informs my work with the best intentions, but in the end, art is bad for the environment. I am creating an object with an intention of archivality - of never breaking down. I am using products that are synthetic and will never go away. Which brings me into the very literal incorporation of plastics in my most recent work. Rather than toss small plastics that will inevitably wind up as trash and find their way into our waterways, I am trying to incorporate them into my abstract works. This is challenging because I consider myself "a painter's painter" in that I adore mixing colors and applying paint to the canvas - it's why I paint. So to force myself to incorporate these small plastics into a painting, the challenge of still making a beautiful image despite this literal incorporation of trash – it's a tough pursuit and I have few successful attempts so far.

  Still life with flowers (pillow toss), Oil on canvas w/plastic, 2017.   One of the works that will be on display at Kimball Jenkins this February.

Still life with flowers (pillow toss), Oil on canvas w/plastic, 2017.  One of the works that will be on display at Kimball Jenkins this February.

 Detail of a new  Plastic Piece  which includes an expired bank card and red plastic netting

Detail of a new Plastic Piece which includes an expired bank card and red plastic netting

I'd have loved to talk with Angie today about the challenges and rewards of incorporating plastic into my newest pieces, but in such an anxious state, I didn't think to bring it up - perhaps because only one of the ten works (pictured - R) I'll have at Kimball Jenkins in two weeks incorporates this trash in the way my new work is beginning to. For a long time I've used found objects to make marks in my paintings. I have a roofing nail that I've kept in my painter's box since I was a teenager and I often use it to incise through the paint or create blurred stippling with the nail head. I also have made a habit of using expired credit cards to scrape and apply paints & mediums with. It wasn't long before I was cutting the cards to create different shapes (and therefore different marks), and in Still life w/flowers… I began applying the actual plastic of the card to the paintings surface. Instead of using the card as a tool, it became the medium. I know it's a bit crazy of me to keep all these small plastics: milk caps, "disposable" lighters, nylon fishing rope, and six-pack holders, which notoriously strangle, deform, and wreak havoc on the sea life – but I'd rather see them incorporated into something people will want to look at than feel a hit of guilt every time I throw a piece of plastic in the garbage. 

In one newer piece I've incorporated the red plastic netting they wrapped our xmas tree in, and in another, one of my empty inhalers, hangs suffocated in plastic. Instead of talking about these I tried to focus more on the work that will be in the show – paintings and prints about the landscape and a type of visual memoir expressed through repeated shapes and patterns that have kind of embedded themselves into my visual vocabulary, Seeds, pillows, rain, flowers, stars, birds, discs that float like angels: these are the marks I find myself repeating over and over.

Angie asked me if my intent with these pieces was to raise awareness of ocean plastics and environmentalist issues, and I had to admit that I don't really paint with intent, and I'm ashamed to say it! Perhaps because I don't work from preconceived sketches or ideas, and instead I'm discovering each individual piece along the way… not all of my paintings are about environmentalist issues. Perhaps because some my paintings are quite literally about pillows or pasta or whiffle ball, I felt that I couldn't also paint with the intention of spreading environmental awareness. Yet some of my pieces are spent marveling at our very existence in this fragile shell of atmosphere we insist on polluting. I paint what is on my mind, so even though I'm not painting to raise awareness, it's a happy side-effect to have more and more people to start thinking about ocean plastics and their own garbage production and plastic consumption. The average American produces nearly four and a half pounds of trash everyday. We don't think about it, but we're brushing our teeth with plastic brushes which we're "throwing away" every three months, we're buying plastic water bottles by the case. It's roughly 500 "disposable" coffee cups per working American, per year. It's baffling. Next time you're in the grocery store, think about the packaging of the food you're buying – how much of it is plastic? I suppose I should own the fact that I'm concerned about our planet. I should try painting with the intent of education, of raising awareness. 

I'd love to be the type of person to organize an event that will incite understanding and compassion and knowledge about our hurting earth, that will generate proceeds for the continuation of real organizations working to combat the problems of waste, plastic, and the climate emergency. I want to be the type of person who betters their communities and their environment through education, and outreach, and action. It feels like a big, challenging task. It feels like maybe the problem is too big and too out of control, and that I am only one person. It feels like 728,000 tons of daily garbage. But change is something that needs to be practiced, and if I could create work that might contribute to the betterment of something as important and wonderful and deserving of celebration and preservation as our fantastic little planet, well that feels like a good place to start. 

_AKK

You can read more about Figuratively Speaking, and the work that I'll have there in next Thursday's issue of The Hippo.
& RSVP at the FB event page here.

 

Ali KellerComment
Figuratively Speaking

This week I’ll be dropping off work for a new exhibition at Kimball Jenkins School of Art in Concord, NH. The show, Figuratively Speaking, is curated by painter Mike Howat and focuses on abstract work from emerging artists throughout New England. 

  Postcard featuring one of my lithographs.  

Postcard featuring one of my lithographs. 

I’ll have some newer paintings I haven’t shown yet, alongside some lithographs I’ve made over the past few years. It’s been a while since I’ve hung prints and paintings in the same show, so I’m excited to see them side by side once more. 

I’m thrilled to be showing with so many talented artists and am even more thrilled to consider so many of them friends! 

 

The show opens Thursday, February 15th with a two-hour reception starting at 5:30.

Hope to see you there 😎 

_AKK

Ali KellerComment
UPDATE: 2017's NEW WORK

Hey y'all, 

There've been several developments in my life and work these past months since you've last heard from me. My partner and I have moved into our first house and have begun planning the details for our wedding next year. In the meantime, my studio's been in boxes, with no heat and no electricity! To top it off, my camera had to be sent away for a broken aperture arm that may or may not be worth repairing. All of these events have been less than conducive to creating new work or keeping my site up to date. But that's no excuse!

But rest assured - I've been hard at work unboxing supplies, running extension cords, and having baseboard heating installed! All the while, drafting up show proposals and figuring out what direction my work is headed in. Helpful in both pursuits was my boss lending me her spare camera so I could shoot the work I've been making this year! Check out the images I've spent all day editing at the 2017 > NEW WORK tab. 

I mentioned that I've been trying to figure out what direction I'm headed in. With so much change and uncertainty in the world right now, it's no surprise that my work has been going off in some new and different directions, and I've had a lot of surprising results using second-hand canvases, wood, fabrics, and collage elements. I've also been teaching myself embroidery and am starting to experiment with its inclusion in my newest work. 

Wish me luck as the deadlines for show proposals creep ever nearer. 

~~ I'm excited to keep doing good work ~~

_AKK

Sk8_r Di3.jpg

lol

an example of a second-hand canvas I'll paint over

Ali KellerComment
THANK YOU!!

Hey y'all :)


I wanted to take the opportunity to write a big ole thank you to 3S Artspace for hosting the first ever (Y)ART SALE (like a yard sale, but w art!) and an even BIGGER thank you to all of you who bought work! 

I'll be at 3S this June printing a giant woodcut, so be on the lookout for updates about that!

  A whole world made up of impossible tiny moments; bits of the past world peeking out behind it.

A whole world made up of impossible tiny moments; bits of the past world peeking out behind it.

In other news, my piece A whole world made up of impossible tiny moments; bits of the past world peeking out behind it. (ridiculously lengthy title, I'm aware, lol) was selected from a pool of 330 artworks to be included in the 17th ArtsWorcester Biennial; The show was juried by Samantha Cataldo, Assistant Curator of the Currier Museum of Art. 

The Exhibition opens Friday, May 5, from 6-8, with some big prizes announced that evening - there will be refreshments and live music, so be there if you can!

If you can't make it on opening night, there will also be a Biennial Viewing Party with food trucks, and a DJ - Friday, May 19, from 6-9!

 Attendees of  Square's  opening reception looking at my piece  Hide-n-go-seek (in the pool)

Attendees of Square's opening reception looking at my piece Hide-n-go-seek (in the pool)

 Attendees of  Square's  opening reception looking at my piece  Hide-n-go-seek (in the pool)

Attendees of Square's opening reception looking at my piece Hide-n-go-seek (in the pool)

 

I'd like to give one more shout-out here to the Derryfield School and NHIA for coming together to organize Square, an exhibit of square artworks by the NHIA community. While I couldn't make it to the reception, there appeared to be a pretty good turn out, and Beck Barsi, manager of the Lyceum Gallery was kind enough to send along some photographs from the opening. 

 

 

Ali KellerComment
(Y)ART SALE!!!
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Hi friends!! 👋🏻 

 

This wknd 4/22 I'll be one of many New England-based artists participating in the first ever "Yart Sale" at my favorite venue, 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH. The idea behind the event is like a yard sale, but with art! (Hence that clever title 😜) All work will be discounted from its retail price 30-50% so you'll be able to find some really great pieces for quite the steal! (And just in time for mothers' day too 😉)  I'll have quite a few pieces available for sale along with a few of my very talented friends (Cat Graffam, Adrian Wallace, and others). Check out 3S's FB event page here

 

In other news, my proposal for Big Ink was accepted so it's time for me to get carving!! This print will be 50" x 33" and the biggest I've pulled to date; it's an historic event in the Ali Keller career timeline, that's for sure :)

 

 Well, until next time!

_AKK

Ali KellerComment
Art Reveal Magazine, BIG INK, and Patreon

Hi friends!! 

I had the pleasure of speaking with the folks at Art Reveal Magazine a few weeks back; They asked about how I first began my art practice, about the art scene in Manchester, and about what painting means to me in our contemporary culture. 
To read the interview in full, check out issue #26 of Art Reveal, right here!
While you're there, be sure to flip through and check out the work of the other artists featured, or even check out Art Reveal's backlog of previous issues - they put out a really nice product, so spend some time with it!

In other news, I've been drafting up loads of ideas for a large-scale woodcut (we're talking like 33" x 50"!!) to submit to BIG INK for their upcoming print session at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth. If  my design is accepted, I'll get straight to carving and come away with a super limited edition of three very large relief prints, one of which is then donated to BIG INK's flat file collection and included as part of an exhibition of all of the prints pulled at 3S Artspace that weekend. Selected artists are expected to pay a fee, which covers time & labour, equipment & materials, and even professional photography, which brings me to my last topic: Patreon. 

Patreon, if you haven't heard of it, is a bit like Kickstarter but for more intangible things. It allows people (like you and I!) to support artists, creators, poets, illustrators, and start-ups (and I'm sure countless of other freelancers, makers, and entrepreneurs) by pledging a monthly allowance of anywhere from $1 to ya know, however much you can afford to give! Patrons who sign up to back certain projects or creators get a sweet gift every month in return.
Please, please, please, if you can spare $2, $15, or any amount at all, I will flood your mailbox every month with things like sweet notes, cool mixed CDs, and original art. Think of it like an Ali Keller Subscription Box delivered to your door each month! How cool! Plus, when I reach my first goal of $250/month, I'll be raffling off an original, limited edition, hand-pulled print from my personal flat file. Check out all of the super cool gifts I'll be offering patrons right here! All proceeds from patrons will go solely and directly towards my artistic practice and will provide funds for things like matting and framing, entry fees (like the cost of participation in BIG INK if I'm selected!), and occasional supplies. 


Y'all are so good :') 
THANKYOUUUUU

_AKK

Ali KellerComment
The idea of a portrait

And the breakdown of what is the process of making.  

Showing all stages at once and st the same time - questioning. The role of tools (the camera in the form of the phone where the internet is integral. The drawing board as not only a support, but an arena of planning, and pushed still further to be the very frame thru which the work is viewed. Nodding, admittedly to raushcheberg and twombly but developed thru my own studio explorations over the past five years. A serious, yet carefree drawing style if I were to describe my portrait and I think just as important are the mid sketch note-jot: phone as documentary/as the camera/as a vehicle for new/and rapid information/as a direct source of terror/of anxiety/I can't take my eyes of(f) the goddamn /trainwreckn

 

 

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Ali KellerComment
Student Members' Show @ Gallery 263

Hi Friends 💫

Just thought I'd drop a line here on the site about the newest show I'll be featured in, opening this Thursday, Dec. 15 at Gallery 263 in Cambridge, MA. 

The show is the first of its kind at Gallery 263 and showcases recent works by myself and four other artists. 

Being a Student Member at Gallery 263 this past year has been a pleasure and this show is bound to be a great end note :) 
 

Check out Gallery 263's FB event page for even more information about the recpetion, 
and check out their website for more info on the Gallery's different Memberships, and what other cool things they're a part of! 

 

 

Ali KellerGallery 263Comment
Winter Works
 

🎀 Hi friends 🎀 

Just dropped off three of my pieces that have been selected as part of a big, annual holiday showcase at Bromfield Gallery in Boston, MA.  

The show is called Winter Works and showcases the work of over 60 artists.

One of the pieces chosen was on view this summer at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, NH, another shown at Nave Gallery in Somerville, and the third has been hanging at The Gal_lery for the past few weeks as part of their first invitational show Gals n Pals.  

The show opens on First Friday, December 2nd, and there's going to be so many good pieces and all for less than $1k! So it'll be a good opportunity if you or a friend have a void on their wall that they're looking to fill 😜

 Started w this time we parked my car by a pond w a bunch of Canada geese :) 

Started w this time we parked my car by a pond w a bunch of Canada geese :) 

In other news, I'm in the midst of struggling w some new paintings, and I want to give you a sneak peak of what I've been working on. It's a continuation of my recent work, but focused less on memory and more on experiences. Evidently they wind up being like the same thing right? Lol so I guess what the difference here is is that these are like, my reactions to the world right now. The unease, the literal simultaneous killing of marginalized people and the very planet we inhabit. I'm worried sick abt the planet and yet the whole world is so goddamn beautiful. There's certainly a dichotomy and i try to speak to that through color selection and paint application. I don't do sketches for paintings. I work directly onto the canvas, and believe that drawings are their own thing. Therefore, the gestation period for ea canvas varies - like greatly! Resulting in some paintings exposing the raw or gessoed support and others becoming physically weighty w paint! Anyway, here I am reacting.

 This one's about the weather on Election Day.  

This one's about the weather on Election Day.  

_AKK 🙃

 Insp.: The ocean, obvs but also all the filthy bullshit we put into our atmosphere and oceans 💫

Insp.: The ocean, obvs but also all the filthy bullshit we put into our atmosphere and oceans 💫

Ali KellerComment