Kellie Wells, Artists statement, 20 March 2017
During my stay at Phasmid Studio here in Berlin my purpose is to continue my research in the subject of personal ritual, sacred practice and self-representation. Never having been to Berlin before there is much for me to see and do to inspire and evolve my own practice. I come here seeking to encounter the visual and emotional feel of spaces, places and artworks in the physical that I would normally experience via the digital realm or in the pages of a book – to touch and feel them not only with my eyes.
In the studio I have brought very little with me on my long journey so shall return to the intimacy of my drawing practice with the intention of making a series of A3 sized ink and gouache drawings reminiscent of the visual poems, prayers and stories told in ancient painted handscrolls and books. Across different cultures these sacred scrolls and concertina-style books were able to be handheld and could travel intimately with the body. They often told a sacred tale with each panel taking the viewer on an intimate journey or through stages of a ceremony or sacred rites as a focus for personal meditation. With myself at the centre of this story I shall reflect and respond to what I see and feel during my time in Berlin and use my commitment to self-reflective drawing as a tool of focus and meditation on the creative evolutionary potential of my short stay here.
Kellie Wells completed her MFA by Research qualification at the VCA, University of Melbourne in 2016. She subsequently received the Fiona Myers International Studio Residency Award undertaken in 2017 at the Phasmid Studio in Berlin. Based in Melbourne she has shown regularly in solo and group exhibitions within public and commercial galleries in Australia and overseas as well as project spaces and artist run initiatives.
Her research interests centre on the nature of contemporary devotional practices and rituals. Practices which seek out the evolutionary potential of recreating a self which is consistently and creatively reimagined through contemplation upon notions of the sacred, interior and spiritual dimensions. Her research acts in response to the narrow frameworks operating within visual media with its ongoing emphasis on exteriority and surface-based obsessions. This, along with the continued objectification, diminishing or rendering invisible of those who do not fit within ongoing cultural ideals of beauty and value.
Through colourful spatial installations of drawing, photography, video and crafted objects her practice reflects a deep contemplation of how we envision the self as an image and alternatively how via our own representations of self we can connect to something else entirely; like the spiritual realm. We can see that the art of self-representation when viewed through the eye of devotional ritual or ceremonial action becomes for the individual concerned both a consecrated pursuit and a sacred occupation.
This residency is generously supported by a Special Study Program (Long), VCA & MCM Faculty Research Grant, the University of Melbourne.