Mitchell-Innes & Nash is pleased to announce its fifth solo presentation of work by Keltie Ferris. FEEEEELING features a dozen new large-scale paintings and a site-responsive wall drawing, a first for the artist. The exhibition will be on view from April 16 through May 29th, and an opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 17th from 1 to 4 pm.
Over the past fifteen years, Ferris has developed his exuberant and complex approach to abstract painting using a variety of methods including spray gun, dry pigment and hand-painted fields.
The new paintings in FEEEEELING belong to a few distinct stylistic groups, each an evolution from Ferris’s previous work.
Four paintings in the exhibition are tightly-worked, grisaille compositions. Rhythmic, gestural marks whirl from edge-to-edge, punctuated by linear smudges and erasures. The overall effect is that of a vibrating body of water contained by brightly colored wood frames. Expanding a practice that began with his works on paper, these paintings brim with contradiction – meditative and anxious, monochrome and kaleidoscopic, visually expanding and contracting.
A second group of works feature Ferris’s signature layered surfaces in which various geometric forms are overlaid and interlocked, creating a shifting, multiplanar depth. In earlier works, Ferris has used a stenciled grid in small sections of the overall composition. In these four new paintings, the stenciled grid overtakes the majority of the picture plane. The crisp, even spacing of the squares calls to mind Pointillism or Ben-day dots used to create the effects of shading and contour. The pixel-like perfection of the grid stands in contrast to the curvilinear spray-painted lines on the surface.
In a third group of paintings, Ferris further removes his hand from the mark-making process. He begins by covering a scrap of canvas in a single color, pressing the canvas covered in wet paint face- to-face with a second stretched canvas. He repeats this action multiple times, building up a richly textured multicolor ground seemingly caught in the act of disintegrating. Gestural spray-painted lines gently hover over this backdrop.
Critics have often noted Ferris’s capacity for synthesizing contradictory visual references: landscapes and streetscapes, the digital and the handmade, stasis and flux, depth and surface. The works in FEEEEELING mark the furthest exploration thus far of Ferris’s diverse visual vocabulary.