Kelly G Chelena is known for her oils on canvas and lately her large watercolors. Her work has been described as crunchy, abstract, and expressive and gestural. She identifies with the works of Cy Twombley, Cecily Brown, Ed Moses, Willem de Kooning, Julie Mehretu and Gerhard Richter among others.
A process painter at heart, she likes to marry chance and intention. Introspection and nature are reoccurring themes. Faith, personal struggles, political woes, and beauty are depicted in feel of a brushstroke. There may divisions in the work implying a "before and after" scenario or perhaps, a "journey through life."
Kelly has always listened to many types of music while painting and it does have an affect on the paintings. She has not been a political painter in the past, however, in the past two years, she is including some general ideas in the paintings in terms of a statement rather than a stance. There is also a nod to frescoes of the past and graffiti of the present in some of the works. Kelly is happily married with two adult children. However, the major influence of her work has been one of her children who was born with autism, a seizure disorder and low cognitive abilities.
She has been the major caregiver for all of his life and it has been challenging. This is now becoming a more prevalent theme in her work.
Kelly was raised all over the southeast and had two parents at different ends of the political spectrum. The typical Southern images she grew up with are not so innocently portrayed in the media and there is a coming to grips with this in her recent work. She is committed to her family and is happy to be able to share her art. She hopes it speaks to others. Through her work, Kelly feels able to connect with the world from which she often feels closed off.
"Meet the Artist" Video: