Currently Obsessing: Artist, Kelly Reemsten

25 September 2013

The brightly colored A-line vintage dresses were what first drew me to Kelly Reemsten’s work, but it was the humorous dark undertones that made me a fan.  

I love art with a little bit of jest, work that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Reemsten’s series “America’s Sweetheart,” does exactly that. Draws you in with sunny feminine charm but upon closer inspection, there’s much more to each piece which are full of contradictions.  In this series, every headless woman is meticulously put together: the jewels, the tailored fit to her dress, manicured nails and softened skin. She is a woman who screams that she has it together, but what we can’t see – is her face. Her face would tell the real story, and Reemsten has masterfully omitted this in all of her paintings.  Some of the paintings have the tool covering her face with strong arms subtly saying that she is “taking care of business,” but one knee is slightly bowed inward, evoking a shy flirtatious pose.  The tools (the axe, the chainsaw, hedge clippers, even the hose) could be used to repair or nurture but do seem to say:  “don’t mess with me.”

Again contradictions, glamorous yet tough; domestic yet violent, anonymous yet compelling. I wonder if Reemsten is mocking modern domestication, or if she’s just trying to show that women can do it all.  What do you think?

Here are a few of my favorite images from the “America’s Sweetheart” series which you can see yourself in New York City in November at the De Buck Gallery:


Dot Study

"Pink Study"

“Pink Study”

"Single Study"

“Single Study”


"Bow Study"

“Bow Study”

"Failure to Engage"

“Failure to Engage” Reemtsen says the paintings of the women falling are to symbolize the idea of “falling out of love and/or falling short of expectations.”

"Coat Study"

“Coat Study”


"Stripe Study"

“Stripe Study”

"Be Mine." Doesn't the think coats of acrylic paint look like cake frosting? Even in the medium, it's humorous. You can't eat it! Paint is toxic!

“Be Mine.” Doesn’t the think coats of acrylic paint look like cake frosting? Even in the medium, it’s humorous. You can’t eat it! Paint is toxic!

You can see more of Kelly Reemsten’s work, including the candy like pills that I adore on her website. 
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