Keltie Ferris
Keltie Ferris

b. 1977, Louisville, Kentucky

Keltie Ferris is known for her mostly large-scale canvases covered with layers of spray paint and hand-painted geometric fields.  Ferris’s pixilated backgrounds and atmospheric foregrounds create perceptual depth that allows for multidimensional readings of her work.  Characterized by a continuously expanding investigation into painting, her practice considers a multiplanar site for constructed light and shifting space. In her ongoing series of body prints, Ferris uses her own body like a brush, covering it with natural oils and pigments and pressing it against a canvas, to literalize the relationship of an artists’ identity to the work that he or she produces.

Keltie Ferris was born in Kentucky in 1977 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2006. Recent solo exhibitions include Body Prints and Paintings at the University Art Museum at SUNY Albany, New York (2016); Paintings and Body Prints at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (2015); Keltie Ferris: Doomsday Boogie at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Los Angeles (2014); Body Prints at Chapter NY, New York (2014); and Man Eaters at the Kemper Museum, Kansas City (2009-10). Her works have been included in group exhibitions at institutions, including Saatchi Gallery, London (2014); Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, Texas (2014); The Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (2014); Brooklyn Museum, New York (2012); the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis (2010); and The Kitchen, New York (2009).  She was recently awarded the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Painting by the Academy of Arts and Letters.

All images © Keltie Ferris

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Selected Press

October 11, 2016
Editors’ Picks: 8 Art Events to See in New York This Week
Artnet News
By Kevin Umaña

New York based artist Keltie Ferris, known for her sprayed and hand painted patches of color, will be discussing her work and art practice at New York Studio School. Ferris uses the age of technology to create large multi-dimensional abstract paintings that resemble layers of pixelated fields. With a BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MFA from Yale, Ferris is represented by Mitchell-Innes & Nash and was recently awarded the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in Painting by the Academy of Arts and Letters.

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February 10, 2016
Art in America
Keltie Ferris: In the Studio
by Daniel Belasco

On the ocassion of her first East Coast museum solo, Brooklyn-based Keltie Ferris discusses her quest to produce "autonomous" body prints and abstract paintings-- exuberantly colorful works deteremined by their own formal dynamics rather than theory, market trends or aesthetic fashion.

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October 13, 2015
The New Yorker
Keltie Ferris
by Jason Farago

Until recently, the best way to prove you were a serious painter was to paint unseriously: mocking the medium, the way Polke or Kippenberger did, proved that you knew the rules of the game. That moment has passed. This bravura show by a leading figure of the new-new painting finds Ferris deploying an arsenal of techniques, from spray guns to impressions of her own body, in riotous soft-edged compositions. She eschews Ab-Ex mark-making for nongestural layers of color, airy mauve or honking goldenrod, interrupted at times by flowing circuits broken into patterns suggestive of pixels. This is the work of an artist who isn’t afraid to tell painting “I love you.” Through Oct. 17.

Download PDF The New Yorker
September 24, 2015
Vulture, New York Magazine
Keltie Ferris
By Jerry Saltz

About eight years ago Keltie Ferris burst onto the New York painting scene like a bat out of hell, that is, if you define hell as the Yale M.F.A. painting program; back then, her large Day-Glo-colored canvases were perfect crosses between hazy 1970s Color Field painting, pixilated digital space breaking up and reforming in odd-shaped plates, and painterly abstraction at the same time totally avoiding any derivative overlap with artists like Kelly Walker or Gerhard Richter.

Download PDF Vulture, New York Magazine
September 23, 2015
Time Out New York
Keltie Ferris
By Joseph R. Wolin

Keltie Ferris continues to make some of the jazziest abstract paintings around.  Several are absolute knockouts, combining blurred passages of spray paint with massed rectangular patches that suggest blown-up pixels created with a computer paint program. 

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September 22, 2015
Body Consciousness: New Paintings and Prints by Keltie Ferris
By Scott Indrisek

 “There's a weird culture where works on paper aren't respected the same way as paintings are,” said Keltie Ferris, walking through her latest exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, which pairs vibrant mixed-media canvases with more intimate body-prints. “This show is about whether these two bodies of work, which were feeling disparate, can hang together.

September 21, 2015
Keltie Ferris
By Andrew Russeth

At Mitchell-Innes & Nash, meanwhile, Ferris continues to stake out her position as one of today’s finest abstract painter with ever larger, ever more exuberantly colored pieces, where shifting blurs compete with crisp, thick pointillist passages. Vibrating with punchy oranges, purples, and pinks, these paintings look like aerial views of futuristic cities, acid–inspired quilts, or glitch-laced JPEGs. Frankenthaler and Gilliam are forebears, but Ferris pushes, with great aplomb, beyond those influences, forging a style that feels bracingly, thrillingly fresh, and one in which space ambiguously slips and slides.

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September 19, 2015
Keltie Ferris
by Prudence Peiffer

La Estrella, [P]y[X]i[S], oRiOn: We’re caught up in the jumbled syntax of the heavens in Keltie Ferris’s dazzling show of ten paintings and six body prints, all from 2015. The constellations that lend their name to some of these canvases trace distinct forms but are composed of flickering stars whose boundaries are less clear to us down on Earth. And this is a central aspect of Ferris’s paintings, whose thin airbushed oil layers and dragged acrylic strokes build a rich color space (here, moving beyond the loose neon graffiti of her 2012–13 gallery show into deep purples, reds, ochers) that shifts in and out of focus. Are these shapes or are they impressions?

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September 17, 2015
The New York Times
Keltie Ferris: Woman Warrior
By Martha Schwendener

This has been a summer of women warriors: Serena Williams, Angela Merkel, Charlize Theron’s character in “Max Max: Fury Road,” and Shaye Haver and Kristen Griest, the first women to earn the United States Army’s elite Ranger designation. Now, in the final days of summer, painting’s warrior women are advancing, and Keltie Ferris is among them.

Download PDF The New York Times
September 10, 2015
Art in America
Painting's Full Arsenale: An Interview with Keltie Ferris
By Jason Stopa

Brooklyn-based painter Keltie Ferris creates marks—smeared, sprayed and hand-painted—that solidify or dissolve into abstractions with a sense of perceptual depth that allows for multi-dimensional readings. The 38-year-old artist returns to Chelsea gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash for her second solo exhibition (Sept. 10-Oct. 17) with several new works created during her recent trip to Los Angeles.

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September 8, 2015
The Observer
Keltie Ferris

A former Yalie who has taken the art world by storm with her fizzy Technicolor abstractions, rising star Keltie Ferris is back with her second solo show at this gallery. The colorful exhibition will include 12 new abstract paintings that she made during a recent stay in Los Angeles, as well as several of the artist’s figurative body prints on paper. The large abstractions mix lively brushwork with bold spray painted areas, while the works on paper (inspired by the body prints of David Hammons) capture the imprint of Ms. Ferris’ clothed body with pigments and oils over a network of brushed, linear forms.

Download PDF The Observer
August 21, 2015
Keltie Ferris on Bringing the Sensual Human Body Into Her Post-Digital Painting
by Karen Rosenberg

This fall, Ferris’s paintings and body prints will be shown together for the first time in her second solo at Mitchell-Innes and Nash in Chelsea. As she prepared for that exhibition (opening September 10) and two other upcoming shows at the University Art Museum in Albany and Klemm’s in Berlin, Ferris welcomed Artspace's Karen Rosenberg to her Bushwick studio to talk about her embrace of body art and what it means for her paintings.

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April 2, 2014
The Brooklyn Rail
Keltie Ferris with Jarrett Earnest
In Conversation

Keltie Ferris is known for large paintings that lap, layer upon layer, into glimmering pictorial spaces; like her, they are utterly debonair. Last month she debuted Body Prints at Chapter NY, surprising new works which, as the title suggests, are impressions of her body on paper. Ferris’s paintings can also be seen in the 2014 Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts at the American Academy of Arts and Letters (March 6 – April 12) where she received the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award in painting. She met with Jarrett Earnest in her studio to discuss bodies, abstraction, and color-feelings over beer and mint tea, respectively.

Download PDF The Brooklyn Rail
January 2013
Keltie Ferris
By Nathaniel Lee

The most noticeable, and therefore notable, features of Keltie Ferris’s well-lavished paintings are their two most immediate strata: Ferris finishes off her large-scale abstractions with arrays of spray-painted dots and dashes and then returns with a brush loaded with a higher-intensity, contrasting color to lay down short, chunky strokes tightly packed in vertical, parallel arrangements around the previous layer.

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December 21, 2012
The Wall Street Journal
Immersed in the Hubbub
By Peter Plagens

One of the more difficult tasks for younger artists is to make abstract painting genuinely new—that is, sincerely and intelligently felt instead of performed (as with too much geometric work) or blurted out (as with too much AbEx-redux brushwork) like a rant in a family argument. Keltie Ferris, a 35-year-old painter born in Kentucky, educated at Yale's art school and now living in Brooklyn, has followed a not uncommon path. Uncommonly, she's managed to come up with something fairly fresh.

Download PDF The Wall Street Journal
December 16, 2012
Risky Business: Keltie Ferris' Collisions of Improvisation and Decay
By John Yau

At some point while I was walking around the spacious exhibition space of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, it struck me that Keltie Ferris’s paintings no longer seemed to be making obvious allusions to Joan Mitchell, Frank Stella, and Piet Mondrian. This may have been due to the order in which I looked at the paintings, but as I went from one to the next I could sense her increasing confidence.

Download PDF Hyperallergic
December 2012
The New Yorker
Keltie Ferris

Picture Monet’s garden as a graffiti-tagged plot in Bushwick and you get some sense of the grit, bravado, and beauty of these big abstract paintings made of oil, spray paint, and pastel.

Download PDF The New Yorker
December 13, 2012
The New York Times
Keltie Ferris

Keltie Ferris’s big, scintillating paintings recall a time a half-century ago when the introduction of a new style in abstract painting could be regarded as an event of seismic significance. 

Download PDF The New York Times
November 27, 2012
Interview Magazine
Keltie Ferris, People Person
By Angela Ledgerwood

"Sometimes I think of my paintings as people," says the Brooklyn-based artist Keltie Ferris, whose solo show runs Nov. 29–Jan. 12 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York.

Download PDF Interview
December 2010
New York Times
Roberta Smith

Keltie Ferris paints with her own kind of well-informed vengeance, and it gives her abstractions a taut, slightly hard-bitten decorative verve. 

March 2010
Art Review
Besides, With, Against, and Yet
TJ Carlin

Painting is certainly not 'all dead' (see The Princess Bride). If we run with the analogy of its being mostly dead, its hope for resuscitation and direction is definitely through recontextualisation. 

Download PDF Besides, With, Against, and Yet
February 2010
The Art Newspaper
Keltie Ferris Bringing back the boogie
Emily Sharpe

He-She, 2010, by 32-year-old Louisville-born, Brooklyn-based artist Keltie Ferris dominates the stand of Horton Gallery (Sunday L.E.S.) (P94/750/850).  

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March 2009
Keltie Ferris at SUNDAY
Martha Schwendener

Keltie Ferris--a 2006 Yale MFA who participated in the height-of-the-market, art-department-raiding exhibition "School Days" at Jack Tilton Gallery in 2006--has a lot of good ideas, even if they're not all fully developed yet. 

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March 2008
Modern Painters
Keltie Ferris at SUNDAY
Joseph Wolin

Armed with a palette knife and a spray gun, Keltie Ferris grapples with the idiom of gestrual abstraction in her first New York solo show, "Dear Sir or Madam."

Download PDF Modern Painters Keltie Ferris Review
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