Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to present works by Mary Reid Kelley in her first exhibition in Los Angeles. On view will be Sadie, the Saddest Sadist and The Queen's English, two recent video works in which the artist combines live-action video with stop-motion animation.
The First World War era and its art forms serve as a setting and model for Mary Reid Kelleys work. During this time of upheaval, technologies capable of destroying entire armies and the meltdown of longstanding gender roles were matched by new, "modern" art forms that expressed a deep fragmentation of body and culture. Poetry and popular verse of the time recorded a profound crisis in language and meaning. Using a combination of rhymed verse similar to the doggerel of British stage theater and a black and white cartoon background, Kelley performs a variety of characters that are confronted with the trauma of war.
Alternating between nurse, sailor, and factory worker, her characters speak in the public language of rhymed verse, whose form degrades their authority as individuals. Their clarity of meaning is further compromised by the euphemisms, clichs, and puns which riddle their speech and trap them between tragic and comic interpretation.
The Queen's English is a narration of loss: the death of a soldier, as observed by a nurse. Confronted with the trauma of war, she defaults to euphemistic, fragmented speech. This concept of fragmentation is visually reinforced by the stop-motion animation of small geometric shapes or "units". Sadie, The Saddest Sadist narrates the travails of a female munitions worker in Britain. The story is ultimately about exchange: Sadie trades her labor for patriotic satisfaction and money in the munitions factory and then gets into a different type of exchange with Jack, a sailor she meets on the street. In keeping with the themes of exchange and war, the visual and verbal languages of Sadie are systems of shared, public meaning: the cartoon and doggerel poetry.
Mary Reid Kelley graduated with a MFA from Yale in 2009. She has received numerous awards including the Alice Kimball English Travel Grant, Yale University, the CAA Visual Arts Fellowship, and the Rema Hort Mann Foundation Fellowship. Her work has been shown in exhibitions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and at Fredericks Freiser Gallery, New York. She will be included in The Dissolve, the SITE Santa Fe Eighth International, Biennial, Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is her first exhibition at the gallery.
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects has moved. The new address is 6006 Washington Blvd in Culver City, 1 block west of La Cienega at Sentney Avenue. Gallery parking is available in the parking lot across the street from the gallery off of Sentney Avenue. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am - 6 pm and by appointment.