Saturday, July 2, 2011

Almost There!

The show, "Willful Wiles" is only one week away!

You might be thinking that I'm freaking out, overwhelmed, and ready to pull my hair out from the stress. Well, one year ago before "Fight or Flight" (my solo at Beep Beep), I definitely was. I think I only had about one half of my paintings completed and the other half in progress, if not even begun. I don't know what I was thinking either. And, honestly, that work could've been better. It's not to say that I wasn't prepared for a solo - in fact, I think I needed it to give me the kick I needed - but I definitely didn't prepare myself for the amount of stress it would cause.

a piece in progress

 Anyhow, no, I'm not freaking out. It helps that for the last four months, I haven't had a real job and I've only been working on my art and any commissions that come along (a billion thanks to my husband for being mostly cool with this until recently... we're super broke now, haha, and I gotta find some work after the show). I have 5 pieces completed, 1 piece that's very close to completion (that I've been putting off) and two pieces that are halfway done (they're a diptych, so I'm doing them at the same time). I know I'll get all of my work done by Tuesday or Wednesday. I believe Marcy and I will begin our badass installation on Thursday and be finished by Friday night. Should be perfect timing.

However... for the last 24 hours or so, I've been dealing with an on-and-off migraine. I get them chronically, so... that's no fun. Unfortunately, I had to spend the bulk of today lying in bed zoning out and trying to ignore the pain. I'm better now... I'm in the kitchen, cooking my mom's recipe of goulash, drinking wine, and playing Scrabble on Facebook with my husband. Tonight I'll get back to painting.

another piece in progress

The thing is, I know things always work out. And, if they don't work out to the ideal, I don't feel regret... I just look at it as a learning experience. And I'm not a procrastinator, I'm an incubator... I know this, thanks to this article. Along with that, the other reason I seem to wait "until the last minute" is the rush and adrenaline that hits in the last few weeks to get the work done. It's not necessarily what provides the motivation, but maybe what I enjoy most about creating... is when it's under pressure. I feel more on point and more excited about the process. I feel a bit like a madwoman when it's at this point - a week before a major show that I have a hand in.

I'm excited for this show not only because of the work I've done for it - which I feel is my best yet and I'm quite proud of - but because it's with Marcy Starz. I asked James and Mark of Beep Beep if she and I could have a show together. We both went to KSU and had many of our classes together and I always admired the work that she did, but I enjoyed her work more because I connected with the feminine qualities in her work and I could sort of intuitively tell that we worked very similarly. Marcy graduated a year after me and has shown that she's not given up on her work or put it aside like many art majors have. I really wanted to see how we could work together and the dynamic our work would create in Beep Beep's space. Needless to say, I was right about our processes - they're frighteningly similar, but that was a very comforting thing from the beginning. We let go of the pressure of knowing exactly what we wanted to say with  the work from the start. This is something that I've come to terms with myself - letting go of being a conceptualist and admitting to up front that I really just enjoy the act of creating. It doesn't mean I don't have anything to say with my work, it just means that I'm not trying to BS you with some fancy artist statement. There's discovery in my work, for both the viewer and myself. I can't speak for Marcy, of course, I'm just glad we see eye to eye in our processes, so this show has come together beautifully, in my opinion. I've extremely excited to have had the opportunity to work with Marcy.

The artist statement for "Willful Wiles" reads:

Not unlike a predator tracking prey merely for recreation, “Willful Wiles” exposes the animalistic impulses and desires that humans instinctively engage and subsequently indulge in. Choosing the contemporary female figure, Kelly McKernan and Marcy Starz explore the means by which their subjects entice and manipulate their unwitting victims, whether for the thrill of the chase or the affirmation of their adroit sexuality. The work draws correlations between the animalistic tendencies we continually exhibit as a civilized species and our own misguided self-perception - are we as composed and calculated as we'd like to think, or do we act on impulse more than we'd like to admit?

That's an artist statement I feel confident in. Previously my work was geared toward displaying various means by which my female protagonists displayed idealism in their youth and learning of its consequences. But my work has become more seductive since (have you noticed the boobs? Yup.). Marcy's work often involves wildlife and sexuality. It only made sense that our work come together in this sense. It's past idealism, and now it's onto "okay, I've learned from my mistakes - it's time to stop being the doe and getting hurt... it's time to be the hunter, to call my own shots." The work is powerful and sensual and very exciting. I can't wait to share it with everyone.

a completed piece from the show - "Relinquish"

Onto my second glass of wine...

Anyhow, another reason I love this last week before a major show is the things I learn about myself as an artist and a person. During the time I spend working on a painting, I reflect on myself and my decisions and who I am and who I am not. It's a very personal, introspective space, and with 8 paintings... there's been quite a bit of that. And like I said previous, I am in love with the act of creating - with taking images from my head and watching them come to life on the paper. One particular thing I've figured out is why I complete the woman's face first - so that the painting begins with a personality, a look, an emotion... so that the rest of it can be influenced by her. It takes a lot of the decision-making out of my hands. I've learned to let the woman (or women) dominate the painting and not necessarily myself any longer.

So, let's wrap this up.

July 9th will be pivotal, I believe. And I hope you'll be there to experience my work and Marcy's work at the opening. You can RSVP on Facebook here. But just in case, here is the show card.

I think I've talked enough... and I want more wine. Goodnight... I'll see you all in a week. :)

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