SEPTEMBER UPDATE

Hello my friends :) 

Well, we've made it to the end of August. This means our show at Kelley-Stelling Contemporary will be coming to a close in just about two weeks, so if you haven't had a chance, be sure to swing by before it comes to a close! It really was a great group to show with. As one show ends, however, another begins! This Saturday I'll be dropping off a painting at the Rochester Museum of Fine Art in Rochester, NH as part of an alumni exhibit. The RMFA is the brain-child of two NHIA graduates who decided to make space for art in a town where that was missing. They curate pop-up shows throughout the year, run gallery spaces throughout the town, and regularly host and support events like film screenings and art programs. This show, is a special one for the folks at the r.mfa, as it coincides with the naming ceremony of their new space, the Bernier Gallery, named after the town's former mayor and arts advocate.

  A whole world made of impossible tiny moments; bits of the past world, peeking out behind it.   Oil on canvas, 2016.

A whole world made of impossible tiny moments; bits of the past world, peeking out behind it. 
Oil on canvas, 2016.

Perhaps the most exciting part about this show for me is that the entires were juried by Jeannie Motherwell, whose father, Robert Motherwell, and step-mother Helen Frankenthaler were pioneers in mid-century abstraction. Check out Jeannie Motherwell's work, here. Of the pieces I submitted, Ms. Motherwell has chosen my piece, A whole world made of impossible tiny moments; bits of the past world, peeking out behind it. This piece has been shown previously at the Gals & Pals exhibit hosted by the Gal-lery in 2016, again at ArtsWorcester's 2017 Biennial exhibit, and most recently at Kimball Jenkins earlier this year for the show Figuratively Speaking, curated by friend and fellow artist, Mike Howat. It's nice to have this piece chosen for exhibit again year after year; it makes me feel like this fella will truly stand the test of time...

For more info about the show and for a list of other artists I'll be showing alongside of (including the wonderful Kate Knox, Deminique Cole, Michelle Peterson, and the remarkable Tracy Hayes) follow this link here. Also, let's talk about how many kick ass women are represented in this exhibit! Thank you, Jeannie Motherwell, for selecting my piece to be included in the show. 

The show opens next Saturday, Sept. 8 with a midday reception from 1-3. Unfortunately I'll be tending bar at the restaurant that day, so I won't have the chance to see the show in full-swing, but that shouldn't stop you all from attending! Get out there and support the arts!

In other news, I'm about to take on an exciting endeavor here at Airlock Studio. Next week I'll be meeting with Mr. Ed Raymond of Loudon Screen Printing. Loudon Screen Printing was established in 1986, and they're closing their doors after a strong 32 year run. I'll be acquiring from LSP, a drying rack, paper cutter, and most notably, a vacuum exposure unit. Wish me luck in transporting the beast – it'll take renting a truck or trailer, and a few strong friends to help unload the stuff! But once acquired, I'll be able to expose photographic imagery onto screens, making production printing, commissions, and my own private art practice that much more capable! 

As always, keep popping in for updates! I'll try and keep y'all in the loop :)

_AKK

Everything Happens So Much

Hi there :) 

The show at Chase's Garage was a great success; I sold a few prints from a super limited edition, and got to hang with Ned & Cait for a little after driving more prints their way. Hopefully you made your way up to York before the show ended last month, as Short Sands in the summer cannot be beat. I'm looking forward to the trip up there to collect my unsold pieces and perhaps sneak in a fish & chips dinner while we're at it!

If you didn't get a chance to see my work while it was hanging at Chase's Garage, there's another upcoming opportunity to see what I do at Kelley-Stelling Contemporary. Still a new gallery in Manchester, NH, Kelley-Stelling is, I believe, entering into their second year at their Hanover St. home, and recently put out their first-ever open call - and boy did they get answers! I'll be showing alongside a couple dozen extremely talented artists, including some friends you'll recognize from previous shows (Boy Nirvana: whom I haven't shown with since 2013, Cody Mack: art-school friend, Kiera Reese: who helped me install my senior thesis show once upon a time, Marcus Greene: the man who taught me to paint, and Mike Phillips & Shania Gates: both stand-outs from the show at Kimball Jenkins). Check the show's postcard below for a full listing of artists who'll have work featured.

FINAL+website.jpg

You can read more about Everything Happens So Much and Kelley-Stelling Contemporary right here

Keep checking in for updates, I might have some paintings on view at the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts for this year's NHIA Alumni Show, and I'll be working on some show proposals in the coming days as well. 

Thanks for popping by! 

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.

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.

 

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

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

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. 

 

 

(Y)ART SALE!!!

FullSizeRender.jpg

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

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

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

 

 

image.jpg