Gretchen Kelly Figures

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There is a thrilling impatience to Gretchen Kelly’s recent figure paintings-as if she is more interested in capturing the moment rather than the body.  Open-ended, elusive forms become bodies when a simple line swoops in to suggest an arm, a neck, a position in space. The energetic, expressive brushstrokes have opened the door to gestural painting and abstraction in a practice that has, until recently, emphasized drawing and detail. 


Gretchen works from models and relishes quick poses over protracted sittings. “I have no desire to work on a painting over and over--for me, the art I make is about what I can do in that moment in time, what I can capture in seconds. The human figure is always moving, feeling, changing-it is never totally still. The potential of the human body to express is what I am interested in.”


Gretchen’s color palette, too, is evocative of an ever-morphing visual reality. She intuitively uses color as a way to convey body heat; warm sensuality appears as hot pink, crimson or bright yellow bold lines or tactile brushstrokes.  Blues and greens are shadows, calm, and places of rest.


In her new work, Gretchen explores the human body’s delicate balance of fluidity and solidity. The figure’s physical presence is never in question, but they are temporal beings that seem to be on the verge of moving to their next pose. 


Gretchen Kelly lives and works in Hudson NY.