ARTIST OF THE WEEK: KELLY REEMTSENDecember 18, 2015
Women work hard. Damn hard. In this series by LA based oil painter, Kelly Reemtsen, women are depicted wielding power tools in puffy dresses. That’s right. Women can do anything men can do, and they can do it in heels too. Each painting shows an anonymous woman from the neck down going about her work, whether clutching an axe, shears, hammer or chain saw. We love this colourful statement on the capabilities of the modern woman.
UO: Where did the idea come from for the retro series?
I guess it came out of frustration? Why are women not equal to men? This is my way of showing female empowerment. The retro part is not my aim. I like my paintings / models to look unquestionably female. Using this specific and classic style dress does the trick. The dresses I use are from all decades including contemporary pieces. There are many classic and contemporary designers that still use the fitted waist and bell skirt look.
UO: Do you align your personal style with the women you draw?
Sort of! I do own all of the dresses in the paintings, BUT I have more of an urban street style by day and save the amazing dresses for special events.
UO: A lot of your paintings focus on women holding what could be interpreted as garden tools or something a bit more dangerous. How would you like the viewer to perceive them?
Strong and empowered women is what I am looking to portray. I do understand that the paintings could look menacing. But, I use the tools to really hit home the idea that most women work really hard.
UO: What is it about oil painting that you love?
Everything, especially the ability to make each painting thick and textured.
UO: None of the women’s heads are shown in the paintings. Why did you make the decision to paint from the neck down?
I would really like the female viewer to see themselves in the paintings. If it were a portrait of someone this would not work.
UO: Where do you seek creative inspiration if you’re stuck in a funk?
I am a documentary junkie. I love to watch people making things. It really gets me fired up and get going on a project.
UO: What’s your favourite artistic tool in the box and why?
Paint brushes. They are trust worthy and can make something 2 dimensional look 3 dimensional.
UO: Where do you want to take your art next?
That is a good question…I will let you know when I know!