Ahead of her new show, Williams | Waits at the Smith Anderson North Gallery, California, opening 16th June, upcoming artist Kellesimone Waits talks to us about her influences and approach.
Your art, at least in part, is influenced by poetry. What particular period or poets do you particularly identify with?
I did spend a lot of time focused on William Blake and Khalil Gibran – their poetry as well as their visual art. Then from my teens to my early twenties I really went for the existential stories by Sartre and Kafka (which are much easier for me to digest than their academic writings), also a lot of Russian literature. I still love it, though, I deliberately moved intostudying sociology when I began to recognize that its effect on me had shifted. Initially, the feeling of being seen and heard, of having my way of seeing and experiencing my environment reflected back to me through these men, had been affirming. It helped to clarify, and give structure to, certain unnamed questions that I had clanging around in me. Moving away from that initial motivation I recognized that I was continuing the reading only to perpetuate and justify the sense of isolation that had initially troubled me so much. It became something I was using to nurture and cultivate a way of experiencing the world that is already my default: seeing others, my environment, and myself as some abstract construct with no true meaning – and, well, it’s not very conducive to having a happy and productive life. So, I decided to start looking into sociology. To collect some facts while continuing to investigate topics I care about like identity and human interaction; but approaching from a direction that assumes certain basics means that studies can be done, polls can be taken, conclusions can be made and certain outcomes can be expected. I still find myself wanting more, expecting more, I rarely see social issues tackled and addressed from a sociological perspective in a way that I find to be effective. I believe to truly do that would call for more overlap between social science, philosophy, and perhaps psychology as well.
These ideas, contentions, questions, curiosities – these are the starting points for my work. I don’t aim to draw conclusions about or solve social issues pictorially. I do, however, hope to insight conversation and questioning between and within the viewers.
Read complete interview http://holidayclubrecordings.co.uk/post/kellesimone-waits-interview
Juxtapoz has your exclusive preview of 101/Exhibit’s Group Show 4 in Miami, opening tomorrow evening, an exhibition that is the soul of 101/Exhibit space, highlighting what’s best at the gallery and what’s coming up for this noteworthy group of artists.
Opening Saturday, June 9, and on view through July 31, the exhibition includes new works by artists Alfred Steiner, Kellesimone Waits, Siobhan McClure, Michel Modell. Ananda Balingit-Lefils, Ted Vasin, Russell Shoemaker, Joshua Suda, Brett Amory, Heather Nevay, Colin Chillag, and Ian Larson. Also showing are gallery anchors, Jason Shawn Alexander, Jorge Santos, Charles Pfahl, Christopher Carter, David Michael Bowers, Pat Rocha, and Chambliss Giobbi.
For her mixed-media paintings, Kellesimone Waits summons the specters of the past, using found photographs of strangers to cobble together the mood of a home, a culture, a decade. In her latest series, she uses colored pencil, water color and gauche to create combinations of geometric patterns and portraiture delicately arranged for a ghostly, nostalgic effect. Waits (who, by the way, is the daughter of singer-songwriter Tom Waits) is due to open a show with Franklin Wiliams, her former professor at California College of the Arts at Smith Andersen North in San Anselmo, CA and a group show at 101/Exhibit in Miami June 9th. She recently took a break to sit down with me to chat with me about Catholic reliquaries, dog photos and the creative process behind her latest body of work. Read Article http://hifructose.com/2012/05/31/remembering-things-past-with-kellesimone-waits/
Creator of Art, Reader of Books, and Bearer of No Good Chicken Stories.
SMITH ANDERSEN NORTH GALLERY PRESENTS:
WILLIAMS | WAITS
JUNE 16, 2012 – AUGUST 4, 2012
Waits combines animal imagery from different cultures with casual business attire, juxtaposing the raw nature of animalistic urges and fantasies with the confines of modern society. The images are both strange and lovely, conjuring figures of Greek Myth and literary heroes and heroines. The furry figures recall childhood fantasies and imaginary friends but dressed in the trappings of adulthood.
Here we have Hilary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi, part of Power Plays, a new exhibit of Kellesimone’s work at a gallery in, uh, Santa Monica. The Margaret Thatcher and Ruth Bader Ginsburg paintings are way more intense. They’re on view until January 2nd. Recommended for political junkies and/or super-creepy perv types.
Opening tomorrow evening at Fuse Gallery, What’s Your Power Animal invites viewers into the world of Kellesimone Waits. The daughter of Tom Waits, Kellesimone draws inspiration from mythology, fairy tales, children’s books, contemporary fantasy film and literature. Her drawings are as strange as they are lovely, striking that delicate balance of dark and sweet. This is her first solo show in New York City and it runs through July 6, 2011.