Alicia Kelly

Tuesday, January 2 to Friday, March 1, 2024

SILENTLY UNEVEN is a collection of works on paper that explore the subtleties of uneven perspectives, punctured surface textures and a playful use of shadows. Hand cut and sculpted with the aid of an airbrush, each piece asks the viewer to take a closer look at the multi-layered, multi-dimensional conversation happening inside.

Tell us about the works on exhibit. What’s the medium? What has inspired their creation? 

Silently Uneven is a group of paperworks that have been created in the past two years. Introducing color into my work, with the aid of an airbrush, allowed me to explore and experiment with layered texture and illuminated shadows. Each of these works ask the viewer to come closer, explore and reflect. All works are hand cut with a #11 exacto blade creating a sense of permanence with each cut and mark. Color is the driving force behind the design of each of these works, using stencils and airbrush techniques to help guide the patterns.   

How did you decide on this medium? 

I fell in love with paper while studying printmaking at The University of Kansas. I was experimenting on how to manipulate, puncture and alter paper in every way I could think of. It has been over 17 years of cutting paper and I am still finding new ways on how the material breathes. The past few years, I have been working with airbrushing my own colors to allow more control over each piece and the color conversation happening.  


Please explain how you developed your own style. 

I think my style developed overtime and with experimentation of materials and various process-based arts. Screenprinting and the intaglio process influenced my love of paper and working alongside visiting artists in college introduced me to the exacto knife as a tool. My patterns came from seeing how far I can push a single sheet of cut paper and the conversations it creates between layers. Natural, manmade and urban architectural elements are inspirations behind each pattern. Contemporary women sculptors, installation artists such as Louise Nevelson, Eva Hesse, Petah Coyne and Jen Stark are go-tos for a dose of inspirational eye candy.   


Is the sense of movement in your work an intentional element or something that results spontaneously? 

My work balances intentional design with spontaneous pattern making. Movement came secondary when I started creating cut paper and sculpted paper works. Over time and with each pattern structure I cut, my goal is to learn the pattern's movement and ways to sculpt the paper with ease. Once the pattern becomes second nature to me, spontaneity happens and allows my practice to become a source of personal meditation.   


What is your most important artistic tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

The exacto knife has become the most important tool I use on a daily basis. I typically go thru 50-60 blades a month. #11 is my preferred blade. I also could not live without a compass, bone folder and cutting mat. 


What books, movies and/or music have inspired you recently? 

Music is my biggest influence and an everyday must in my creative practice. Dinah Washington, Velvet Underground and Aretha Franklin are my go-tos. Italo Calvino's short stories are my typical travel companion while pop-up books created by David Carter are always inspirational to my thought process of paper engineering.


Enjoy this exhibit until February 21, 2024