Flesh, Fetish and Fairytales: Drawings by Kerry Kelly and Karen Thomas
Opening Reception, Friday February 7, 7 -10 pm
The Center for Sex and Culture is proud to present Flesh, Fetish and Fairytales: Drawings by Kerry Kelly and Karen Thomas. The stories we learn as well as stories we invent play an enormous role in how we understand the world and our place/s in it. Kelly and Thomas’ drawings begin with the bodies enacting narratives that transgress ideals of beauty in relationship to erotic pleasure. Their figures confront varied meanings as well as the full weight of being and being sexual.
Kerry Kelly’s series of drawings, the Dirty Girl, highlights sexual activity among disparate age groups. Often focusing on the elderly bodies that are more than sexually active—they are kinky, aware, mischievous and fully engaged with their bodies and desires.
Kelly sources imagery from both pornographic film stills and images of actors fully clothed. Kelly gives her full attention to rendering the flesh. Sex toys, props, furniture and clothing is either outlined or depicted flatly with gouache that contrasts with the softness of colored pencils. The clothing becomes illustrative, creating a cartoon caricature of the ‘mask’ behind which we hide.
Karen Thomas’ overtly erotic drawings and paintings are filtered through her personal philosophies on mythology, Catholicism, ritual, fairytales, feminism and eroticism. The familiar motifs Thomas depicts integrate inventive backgrounds frequently made of ornate wallpaper containing winged dog-cherubs, and other mischievous creatures. Her visual retellings depict grotesque and gaudy characters in an overtly erotic manner.
A common element in her work is the cultural and mythological significance of the language of hair. Thomas has been researching hair as an aspect of femininity, otherness, and as a symbol of man’s connection to wild animals. Her figures contain hybridities of animal and human characteristics.