My paintings track a female figure as she moves through an imagined landscape. Each canvas articulates part of an origin story, mapping out zones of the world and recording the figure’s experience of and interaction with her surroundings.
I construct these images from fragmentary references, such as passages of literature, studies of individual plants, and imaginative drawings. The character in this new body of work is influenced by Djuna Barnes’ 1937 novel "Nightwood", which serves as a seed from which a new set of characters and rules of the world emerge. Both the figurative characters and landscape itself diverge from representative realism, yet the environments in the canvases are grounded by the familiar and exotic plants that populate it.
Kelsey Shwetz is a Canadian-born painter who lives and works in Brooklyn. Her work is concerned with the female gaze, intimacy, registers of memory, and obsession. Shwetz was most recently represented by Christopher Stout Gallery New York (2015-17), and has exhibited in New York, Germany, Miami, Toronto, and Montreal. She was awarded residencies at the Centre Pompadour (France); Emerson Landing, Eastside International, Starry Night (USA); and CanSerrat (Spain). Publications featuring her work include: Brooklyn Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, NYC-ARTS, Posture Magazine, Flavorwire, Lost at E-Minor, Lip Magazine, Tjen Folket, and the Globe and Mail.