Colleen Kelsey has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally with defining moments of achieving the Chicago CAAP Grant, receiving the National Society of Arts and Letters Small Sculpture Award, exhibiting at the Carnegie Mellon Museum of Art and her continued art activism through Kelsey Projects. Kelsey is a member of the New York Artists Equity Association, NYC and Gallery Director at Dayton Society of Artists. Colleen Kelsey lives and makes art in Dayton, Ohio. She lives with her husband the painter Jeremy Long and their three children.
For more information on Colleen Kelsey's work or to be added to the mailing list send an email to colleenkelsey(at)hotmail(dot)com or call 937-952-0246
Statements on Individual and Series of Work
Works on Paper
This watercolor series began in the summer of 2015. It is made up of small works in ink and watercolor on paper, all sized under 9 inches. The scale is purposeful. As a mother of three children working small allows the necessary attention required for each piece. This allows me to carve out time between work and my kids' schedule. It's interesting that historically women artists worked on hand held pieces contained in their laps and easily moved around. They worked in mediums of stitching, drawing and cut paper. I also enjoy that this size lends a viewing intimacy, inviting the audience to come closer to properly examine the work.
Narratives are built with archetypal characters of female, male and family. Within the paintings characters occupy an invented landscape. The work also speaks to gender power structures in the grand history of painting. Often I reference paintings from the western art canon such as Watteau or Boucher. In the Artist and Her Husband series I look at male artists’ self-portrait domestic paintings. I too am married to a painter, Jeremy Long, and find it very humorous to subvert these roles in paint. I paint myself as the strong matriarchal artist and my husband as the supportive spouse. This to me also speaks to the current under representation of women artists in our major museums and galleries. Other paintings find context through social political activism. Throughout all these works the main objective is to actively create a pictorial balance within the composition with attention to mark making and the study of color.
Julius, Hone, Darsheel, Jessica, Amaha, Dayton, WSU Student Community Activists John Crawford III shooting Beavercreek Walmart Aug 5, 2014, Five Headed Figure Group, 2015
Recycled Fabric from Artists Home, Canvas, Thread, Graphite, Charcoal, Conte, Natual Dyes: Tea, Coffee, Dandelion Root
56 h. x 83 1/2 inches
The Shooting Death of John Crawford III, Beavercreek Walmart August 5, 2014
John Crawford III, a young black man, was shot and killed by a Beavercreek police officer on August 5, 2014. Crawford lived in Cincinnati, Ohio and was visiting my home of Dayton, Ohio. While shopping at the local Walmart, Crawford was talking on his cellphone to his girlfriend Tasha Thomas, also the new mother to their son. As he was talking to Tasha, Crawford picked up a toy BB/air rifle from the Walmart shelves. Another customer Ronald Ritchie phoned the police reporting that Crawford was holding a rifle and pointing it at fellow customers and their children. Later Ritchie recanted. In response to Ritchie's 911 call, police stormed the Walmart. Upon entering without announcing their presence, a Beavercreek officer immediately shot John Crawford twice. Crawford was given no chance, it was later confirmed by store video that there was no verbal warning issued by the police. He was shot in his torso and arm and died soon after from his wounds.
John Crawford was shot because he was black. In Ohio we have open carry gun laws and it is not uncommon for white men to carry guns freely into grocery stores and other public places. John Crawford was not holding a weapon but a toy, a BB/ air rifle and a commodity that Walmart customers were ostensibly free to explore. Activists Julius Eason, Hone Sellassie, Darsheel Kaur, Jessica Thomas and Amaha Sellassie have worked tirelessly with other Dayton activist to have the Walmart videos released through the Release the Tape campaign and the Justice for All march. Currently the U.S. Justice Department is working on its own investigation as the local grand jury did not indict the officers involved in the Beavercreek Walmart shooting. This is an attempt to make a record so the murder of John Crawford III is not forgotten and to honor the activist who continue to pursue justice. -