Scott Richards Contemporary Art presents ROAD TRIP, a new series of high-rev, high-shine photorealist oil paintings by Cheryl Kelley. A cocktail reception for the artist will take place on Thursday, November 3, 5:30-7:30 pm. The exhibition continues through November 23.
Cheryl Kelley’s exquisite paintings of automobiles present high-powered muscle cars as seductive objects of desire, and reveal them as not only 20th century icons, but as metaphors for the American Dream itself, in all its complexity. Working from photographs she has taken along the Northern California coast, the artist manipulates the images to create wide-angle, in-your-face compositions. The smooth high-gloss varnish of her painted surfaces mimics the sleek veneer of her subjects, while the dramatic angles and detailed close-ups of metal, chrome and rubber caressing the fluid lines of the engineered designs suggest boldness and undeniable sex appeal.
Kelley renders the reflective qualities of chrome and gloss in hyper-realistic detail, and employs the reflections in the mirror-like finishes to add a layer of subtle, yet engaging, complexity to the works. In some of her paintings, such as Red Jag Rear, a maze of abstract pattern emerges and overlaps the composition; in others we can see tiny figures and landscapes within the reflections, revealing worlds within worlds. The surrounding environment interacts with the reflected landscapes as well, giving the viewer insights into the people, culture, and places that surround the automobiles, as in the street art depicted in Trans Am with Banksy.
Kelley brings a uniquely female perspective to these objects — which are usually almost synonymous with bad-boy hyper-masculinity — by heightening the graceful, curvaceous outlines and lush, bright candy colors of the cars. “The compositions flow from recognizable bumpers and hood scoops to rambunctious abstractions with colorfully gleaming showroom highlights,” said the Village Voice, “it ain’t a man’s world anymore.”
Cheryl Kelley is a recipient of the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Award. Exhibitions of note include Photorealism Revisited, at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art; and invitational shows at the Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, CT and the Samek Art Gallery at Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA. Collected nationwide, her work has been reviewed in many publications, including ArtNews, the New York Times, and San Francisco Weekly, and has been featured on the cover of Harper’s magazine. A native of Texas, Kelley earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in 1992. The artist lives and works in Northern California.