Kelli Thompson

Region: Northeast

In my large-scale portraits, I use a highly synthetic palette to reformulate the look of the skin of my subjects. I over-describe the surface of the flesh so that every detail remains in focus, removing the image one step further from reality. Through this method of painting, and the scale of the portraits, I am able to experiment with the tension between the attraction and repulsion of viewers when confronted with artificial representations of the human figure.

I invest myself in the persona of each painting with changes in hairstyle, wardrobe, makeup, and stature as markers of the individual, while also generalizing the subject within the context of my work. By breaking apart the painted flesh into separate planes of color, I‚m able to participate in the classical tradition of exploring the surface and nature of the skin. At the same time, I focus on elements of contemporary style, design, and popular culture as a means of heightening the accessibility of the work and aiming the paintings at the consumptive desires of their audience.