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 *O*P*E*N* at the Speed Museum, Louisville, KY (2018), (F(U(T()U)R)E) at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (2018), M\A\R\C\H at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York (2017), 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.
Bid on Sarah Braman, Keltie Ferris and Eddie Martinez in the 2018 White Columns Benefit Auction. All proceeds benefit White Columns, New York's oldest alternative, non-profit space.
Sarah Braman and Keltie Ferris are included in the group show, Noon - One, at CANADA Gallery, New York.
Support those impacted by the hurricanes in Puerto Rico by bidding on artworks generously donated by artists including Katherine Bernhardt, Joe Bradley, Keltie Ferris, Angel Otero, Josh Smith, Stanley Whitney and more. All proceeds will go to the MariaFund, which provides immediate relief to Puerto Rican communities in need, and El Serrucho, an emergency grant program that supports artists and cultural workers on the island.
Keltie Ferris is featured in a solo exhibition at Klemm's Berlin.
Curated by Arnold Lehman, Artspace has partnered with The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York for a benefit auction at their annual Center Dinner fundraiser, this year honoring Mary-Louise Parker and Timothy Chow. The auction, featuring artworks by Keltie Ferris, Deborah Kass, Shepard Fairey, Inez and Vinoodh and more, is now open for bidding. The online auction closes on Thursday, April 14, at 9:15 p.m. EST.
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Built up in layers of spray gun washes and palette knife zips, these fresh and original large-scale abstractions reference textiles, graffiti, and modernist painting through a pixilated haze of neon, dark night tones, and tempered pastels. The body prints are an extension of this layered approach to image-making.
On the occasion of Frank Stella: A Retrospective, this roundtable discussion with artists Walead Beshty, Keltie Ferris, Jordan Kantor, and Sarah Morris explores key aspects of Stella’s heterogeneous approach to painting and its significance for younger generations of artists working today.
New York, March 17, 2014 — The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the eleven artists who will receive its 2014 awards in art. The awards will be presented in New York City in May at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial. The art prizes, totaling $112,500, honor both established and emerging artists. The award winners were chosen from a group of 37 artists who had been invited to participate in the Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, which opened on March 6, 2014. The Exhibition continues through April 12, 2014, and features over 120 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper. The members of this year’s award committee were: Lynda Benglis, Varujan Boghosian, Eric Fischl (Chairman), Yvonne Jacquette, Catherine Murphy, Philip Pearlstein, Judy Pfaff, Paul Resika, Dorothea Rockburne, and Terry Winters.
Doomsday Boogie includes several of Ferris’s large-scale paintings, along with a series of thin vertical paintings—physical realizations of the zips that originated in Barnett Newman’s abstract expressionist work.
Without cynicism, these painters stage studio experiences in which one sees acts of painterly lovemaking accumulate over time. By tenderly examining the surfaces of their works, one can reconstruct the painterly decisions, additions, revisions, and erasures that lead to the finished image and thereby reconstruct the narrative by which the artists fall in love with their own work. The painterly pleasure they seek is like the fugitive lover whose loss has to be perpetually risked in order to keep their passion level high, and we, the audience, can experience that pleasure vicariously.
Open Windows: Keltie Ferris, Jackie Saccoccio, Billy Sullivan, and Alexi Worth Guest-curated by artist Carroll Dunham, this exhibition presents the work of four contemporary American painters: Keltie Ferris, Jackie Saccoccio, Billy Sullivan, and Alexi Worth. Representing distinct and varied approaches to painting from abstraction to realism, these artists’ works will be set in counterpoint to modernist paintings chosen by Dunham from the Addison’s permanent collection. By juxtaposing new and recent paintings by the four artists with historic works ranging in date from the 1930s to early 1960s by artists such as Franz Kline, Irene Rice Pereira, John Graham, and Reginald Marsh, to name a few, Open Windows reveals sometimes surprising affinities, influences, and contrasts among and between the twenty-first-century works and mid-twentieth-century paintings, opening windows on new possibilities and fresh ways of seeing. On view through April 8, 2012.
In the fall of 2015, myself and my then-partner were bobbing through Chelsea for the perfunctory NYC gallery hop. Driven by that pretentious, guileless swagger of recent art school graduates, we were anxious to consume. Consume what? It’s difficult to explain that insatiable hunger. A hunger for that glimmer of a swoon, that seraphic electricity that certain artworks can inspire—in other words, that bombastic and elusive sense of meaning. My partner, an abstract painter herself and a devout planner, had prepared a hefty itinerary beginning with Ferris’ show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash.
As is true of many good painters, there’s one thing for sure that can be said about her work: it’s damn good painting! But we still find ourselves on the most bizarre terrain. For example, the controversial appointment of Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice. Or the question that poses itself for big city dwellers who are no longer so young, but not yet old: whether that was enough city life, whether it might not be better to move to the country. Or the peculiarities of the German language.
This exhibition of paintings and drawings marks a bold and confident change in the working methods of Keltie Ferris. A significant departure has been made from the characteristically fuzzy and pixelated images taken and transformed from screens present in previous paintings. In their stead is an assertive—and risky—incursion of influence from high profile painters—George Condo, Christopher Wool, and Jonathan Lasker—but especially Wool, of whom Ferris has said, “I feel like Christopher Wool is so influential, he’s almost like our de Kooning right now. Everyone is copying him, or riffing on what he has brought to the table.”
Ferris can always be counted on to push the perimeters of her intensely optical abstract paintings, and this show finds her, now 41, experimenting, rethinking, slowing down, mixing marble dust into her oil paint, laying down stenciled polygonal shapes, wiping out areas of canvas, and leaving severe spray-painted black lines as structure.
I’ve been a fan of Keltie Ferris’s hot Day-Glo spray-painted, structured, multi-matrixed large paintings since she emerged fresh out of Yale’s MFA program in the mid-aughts. Always to be counted on for pushing the perimeters of her intensely optical abstract paintings, this show finds Ferris, now 41, experimenting, rethinking, slowing down, mixing marble dust into her oil paint, laying down stenciled polygonal shapes, wiping out areas of canvas, leaving severe spray-painted black lines as structure. The results are less lively, even, and visually arresting than her previous work, and they fit more into a tradition that might include Fiona Rae, David Story, and Guy Goodwin — artists more dependent on visible structure, clearer geometry, and deploying a menu of marks and configurations on canvas, all to lesser effect than Ferris has already reached — but I will not stop paying attention to this live wire.
In the past few years, there has been an uptick in an expanded form of painting that presents itself as a hybrid. A few current examples of this tendency include the work of Laura Owens, Keltie Ferris, Rachel Rossin, and Trudy Benson — artists who have explored multi-media paintings that rival sculpture. These works feel constructed as opposed to made, and engage with several forms of tactility, illusion, and physical depth.
In these works she literally covers herself in oil and pigment and lies on top of a human-sized sheet of paper. Depending on the print, the designs either obscure or highlight the artist’s gender. “I’ve always been looking for some sort of extremely indexical ‘I am here’ mark to put into my paintings,” she said.
The Brooklyn artist writes a new chapter in the history of painting as performance—a powerful update of Yves Klein’s infamous use of naked women as blue-dipped brushes. Ferris’s imprints on paper of her own painted form, clad in a button-down shirt and belted jeans, have a cowboyish gender fluidity. The results can evoke Warhol’s iconic Elvis series, especially when Ferris’s hands rest at her hips, as if poised at a holster. In the turquoise-and-crimson “Joan/Joni,” we see a sturdy stance and a blurred head; in “twinKtwin,” the figure is headless and symmetrical, a vision in yellow and silver. The novel self-portraits may surprise viewers who know only the artist’s rambunctious abstractions—they will doubtless earn her some new fans as well.
Unlike her predecessors, Ferris’ body prints reject an easy gendered identification of the body, suggesting a fluid and performative state of gender identity. As no two prints are exactly the same, each work represents a multitude of forms, which when displayed together, present individual facets of the artist’s identity, both autonomous and dependent.
The artist’s subjectivity is literally inseparable from the work in Keltie Ferris’s latest exhibition of body prints, “M\A\R\C\H.” She made the twenty-eight prints in the show by dousing her body, usually clothed but sometimes nude, in oil and pressing it against paper, then covering it with pigment. While the layered pigment renders every crease and crevice of clothing and flesh, the colors also work to create vibrating relationships that define the mood of the figure they make. On one wall, fourteen prints hang in a grid, each one radiating an individual palette, often mirrored by playful titles.
Keltie Ferris's current show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, "M\A\R\C\H," furthers the Brooklyn-based artist's experiments in exploring queer identity with recent selections from her ongoing series of body prints. Covering herself in oil and pressing her frame onto paper that she paints in beaming hues, Ferris triumphs over the surface and the very patriarchal ideology of her medium. The denim pants and shirts she dons in each print lend a distinct shape, challenging typical likenesses of the female nude.
On view are more of the artist's ongoing series of body prints, for which she covers herself in oil paint before pressing against a canvas on the floor.
Keltie Ferris’s disorienting, lambent abstractions—like a marriage between Albers and Oehlen, bathed in acetone—become even more physical with her current exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash’s Uptown space. For this grouping of works, started in 2013, the artist made prints from her body. Creases from clothes and flesh show up in these strange and playful images, Shroud of Turin–like.
Ferris creates her “Body Prints”—which recall the works of David Hammons, Jasper Johns, and Yves Klein—by applying oil to her own body (clothed or nude) and pressing herself onto paper on the floor of her studio. A stark contrast to her well-known abstract, spray-painted works, these prints retain a sense of self-portraiture that transcends gender identity, presenting fluid, dynamic bodies that provoke questions of artmaking and representation.
Keltie Ferris may be better known these days for her digital-looking abstractions, but this show will give her body prints a proper showcase. To make them, Ferris—sometimes clothed, sometimes not—covers herself in oil and presses her body against a canvas. The result is a figure whose gender is ambiguous, with an unreadable expression to boot. Drawing on a history of body printing that includes Jasper Johns and David Hammons, Ferris explores the connection between a painter and her canvas. How much Ferris’s identity comes through in the final product is always a point of inquiry.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
Keltie Ferris paints with her own kind of well-informed vengeance, and it gives her abstractions a taut, slightly hard-bitten decorative verve.
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.
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).
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.
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."