2017 Artists

Gillian Keller

Enlightenment Barbie - The Harmonious Coexistence of Supposed Opposites.

Several years ago, I had a sudden, ecstatic enlightenment experience while sitting outside, hungover at brunch! The event caused me to create these artworks, my own heavenly host of religious icons - each a unique shrine to the subtlety, grandiosity, and hilarity of the essence of reality.

These pieces are metaphors for the bizarre, discordant battles that wage in the subconscious - being so maniacally angry that you begin to laugh, or being so overwhelmed with the juiciness of life that you start to cry.

Within each piece is a narrative of life and death, beauty in suffering, and humor in darkness. Visually and symbolically, there is a push and pull between seemingly opposing forces. A guarded, wounded saint shimmers in gold blood on hot-pink rocks; a blissful guru sits smugly in the park, smirking as she releases an energetic spell; a crucified female christ lifts her head in transcendence, bleeding gold and rainbows onto the fertile ground, where flowering mushroom gardens grow below her. The sickly-sweet colors, cotton candy clouds and psychedelic rainbows bring an unusual balance to the underlying content of work - discomfort, frustration, and confusion exist -but, simultaneously, beauty, absurdity and silliness exist. This is the full spectrum of opulence surrounding us in our human experience. Seeing this first-hand has compelled me to share this fulfilling vision.

I begin my collages with my photographs of women, creating digital studies for each piece. I comb through vintage illustrations and my own photographs of landscapes and architecture to find the perfect visual material. Then, each Photoshop layer is printed out individually, hand cut, and layered onto panel together with complex layers of paper, gold foil, and rhinestones. A layer of UV resistant resin gives each original collage a luscious shine.

For more information about Gillian Keller, please visit her website.