This review by Ardin Lalui: ardinlalui.com
How long does a magazine photo last?
Well, forever if someone paints it.
In her new collection, running at Perihelion Arts in Phoenix from 1 – 30 October, Kellesimone Waits examines the experience of being immersed in media imagery. The collection, entitled “Natural Selection” looks at her own process of selecting images, from magazines as diverse as Vogue and National Geographic. A handful of these images have ensured their own survival, through Kellesimone’s selective filter, and form the paintings and drawings of this collection.
Natural Selection is defined in the collection as:
a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment.
This collection explores an experience common to all of us. In 1970, Robert Wachsler estimated that the average adult was exposed to 295 commercials a day. In 2007, Media Matters estimated that the figure had increased to 625. This flood of imagery forces us to be as unforgiving as nature in what we cull. It makes each of us our own environment, composed of the imagery of our own choosing. Waits has said of the images selected in “Natural Selections,”
Be selecting particular images and then choosing to paint them I have altered their life spans to exceed the average shelf life of a magazine, and in turn ensured their survival (if only in my own world).
Kellesimone’s new collection allows us to consider the possibilities latent in the privilege we have been given to experience, select and reject, and in turn create a world of our own. It reminds me of a passage from Cormac McCarthy‘s The Crossing:
Memories dim with age. There is no repository for our images. The loved ones who visit us in dreams are strangers. To even see aright is effort. We seek some witness but the world will not provide one. It is the history that each man makes alone out of what is left to him. Bits of wreckage. Some bones. The words of the dead. How make a world of this? How live in that world once made?
Both this passage, and Kellesimone’s new collection, invite us to consider the possibilities of making a world from what is left us, and perhaps living in that world once made. I will be blogging about Kellesimone’s work on an ongoing basis so please subscribe for updates.
The collection runs at Perihelion Arts in Phoenix from 1 -30 October with the artist present on the 1st and 15th of October between 6 and 10 pm. For more information, previews and interviews, contact Perihelion at firstname.lastname@example.org.