Department of Art Alumni
Joan Kelly MFA '05
Joan Kelly is a visual Artist working primarily as a painter in oils. Her work is involved in observation and the act of seeing, and the process of transforming. Her canvases are created on site. She works with still life and landscape simultaneously. The space created by the over lapping of these subjects is an integration of two dimensional picture plane and a three dimensional perspectival vision. There is a great sense of openness and optimism through her use of color and paint handling even when she is painting the objects of the vanitas.
As a teacher she strives to create a situation that provides the students contact and experience with the issues of art. An artist builds their own relationship to those issues, as a student begins to do also.
Joan Kelly has been living in Singapore for three years, teaching painting and drawing at NTU. While in the USA besides painting many mural commissions, selling and exhibiting her work, she also founded and directed an art studio for adults with disabilities. This studio is still successful today.
Her introduction to Asia began in 1985 when she traveled to Indonesia carrying the pictures, letters and money from Indonesia foreign workers in New York to their families on Java. Presently, this thread has continued through her work with communities on the fringes of society in South East Asia, China and India. Kelly’s work is created through a deeply politically committed practice, resulting in figurative painting. Kelly has been working with the foreign workers in Singapore, in the villages of Hanoi and in the brothels of Kolkata using the act of portrait painting to generate an encounter with her subjects. Her work embraces the painting tradition as well as investigates the communicative dynamics of art.
Kelly uses art as “relational aesthetics,” seeking to bridge communications between people separated by social class and stigma. The research process involves more than an interview with the subjects. The research process creates a collective experience between the artist and the social group she is engaging with. The process of creating the portrait painting, through time and persistent scrutiny gives the subject a “stake” in the representation. They recognize themselves. Their identity as an individual not by class or stigma is brought forth.
Another series of paintings Joan is building is called Singapore Society. This is a second ongoing body of work. Kelly uses the tradition of oil painting to build imaginative imagery that comments on Singaporean society in areas of consumerism, the role of technology, gender roles, and urban living. Her imagery originates from her own observations and experiences in Singapore combined with the visual landscape of her immediate surroundings. The collective works become “social memoires” of an outside view of Singapore society. She uses imagination and humor to speak about very human traits in relation to changes in society.
Joan sent an update from Singapore during the University break in September 2005 and she had tea lessons as well as philosophy. To read her update, click here.
Research Recent Awards
2007- 41K Euro NTU Start-Up Grant, Co-PI Singapore Hero’s and Idols
2005- RCC Grant under 2KEuro Nanyang Technological University
Publications/ Critical Press
Europa May 2009 Issue: The May issue of The Myth of Europa, magazine engaging with transnational politics and art Published by European Alternatives: www.euroalter.com: Cultural Theorist: Dr. Bhaskar Mukhopadaya “Glocal Art at the Margins of Empire”
International Biennial of Drawing Pilsen Oct. 2008: Published by University of West Bohemia
C2 ISBN: 978-80-7043-723-0
Erotic Wonders: The Private Collection of Erotic art of Naomi Wilzig, Published by Miss Naomi International, LLC Box 1421 Lutz Florida 2005 ISBN: 0-9761840-2-8
2009 May Group Exhibition: Sketch Book Project, Chicago Art Source Gallery, Chicago IL. USA
2009 Apr 2009 Apr Juried Group Exhibition: Drawing From Perception VI, Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries, Wright University Dayton, Ohio USA Juror: Ruth Miller- Forge
2009 Apr Group Exhibition: Sketchbook Project, Museum of Design, Atlanta, Georgia USA
2009 Apr Group Exhibition: Sketch Book Project, 3rd Ward, Atlanta, GA. USA
2009 Mar Group Exhibition: Sketchbook Project, Museum of Contemporary Art, Wash. DC.
2009 Mar Group Exhibition: Sketch Book Project, Laconia gallery, Boston MA, USA
2009 Mar Group Exhibition: Sketch Book Project, Antena Gallery, Chicago IL. USA
2009 Mar Group Exhibition: Sketch Book Project, Soulard Art Market, Brooklyn, NY. USA
2009 Feb Group Exhibition: Sketch Book Project, Art House Gallery, Atlanta GA. USA
2008 Nov Solo Exhibition: “Reflex” University Sains Museum Penang Malaysia
2008 Oct Juried Competition: International Drawing Biennial Pilsen Czech Rep.
2008 Apr Duel Exhibition: “ Influx” Joan Kelly and Eileen Reynolds Post Museum
2007 May Duel Exhibition: Basheer Gallery, Singapore Joan Kelly & Phillip Baldwin
2006 Jul Group Exhibition: Burren College of Art, Ireland
2006 Group Exhibition: “14 Emerging Artists” Prince Street Gallery, Chelsea, NY
2005 Group Exhibition: “Small Works” Blue Mountain Gallery, Chelsea, NY
2005 Invitational Group Exhibition: “Tour de Clay” Maryland Institute College of Art Curator: Ron Lang
2009 Apr Conference: Theatre/ Border Collaboration between Friere University Berlin and Goldsmiths, University of London, Guest Speaker Rustom Bhaucha, “Theatricalizing Portrait” joint presentation Joan Marie Kelly and Dr. Bhaskar Mukhopadaya
2008 Oct Conference: International Drawing Biennial Pilsen Czech Rep. “Survival of the Artist in Singapore”
2007 Sep Conference: Migrating University, Art as Activism Goldsmiths, University of London UK, Cultural Studies Dept. John Hutnyk
2008 Oct Workshop: Drawing into Painting, Sains University Museum
2008 Feb Tile Workshop: Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus, O Level School, Singapore
2007 Mar Drawing Workshop, ASTI School of Culture and Performance Bandung, Indonesia
Richard O'Brien Irish Ambassador to Singapore
Sains University Museum
World Erotic Museum 1205 Washington Ave., South Beach, Florida. USA
Will Barnet: Artist, New York,NY.
Kidder Peabody: New York, NY.
Diana Kan: Artist New York, NY.
Lady Jane Ashley: New York, NY.
Marla Hanson: New York, NY.