Presented in the Media Room is Lauren Kelley’s stop-motion animated short Upside. Completed during her residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem (2009–2010), Kelley’s video expresses a bittersweet pathos through a narrative told from the vantage point of a child assessing her family’s lot as a swimming pool party goes awry. Employing a wry wit when commenting on matters of sexuality, race, and meditations on place, Lauren Kelley is a video artist best known for her series of short animated videos that combine clay-mation with brown plastic dolls. Stylistically evocative of children’s television programs of her youth, Kelley stages absurd, jittery, and sometimes endearing narratives. These low-tech scenarios occur in Technicolor dioramas—a plush backdrop in contrast to the flaccid narratives of a discontented cast of ingénues. Like other works in this artist's ongoing series, Upside is a short-stop-animation work that draws inspiration from the grotesque charm of Todd Haynes’ The Karen Carpenter Story and The Yes Men’s political endeavors with toys.
Lauren Kelley’s videos and photographs have been presented nationally at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; New Museum, New York; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Texas; Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland; The Kitchen, New York; and most recently she was included in the group exhibition Twisted Sisters, an exhibition of works by women artists depicting women as the subjects, at Dodge Gallery, New York, through June 23, 2012 (an exhibit that also included the work of gallery artists Nina Katchadourian and Julie Heffernan). Kelley was awarded the 2011 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, 2011 Visual Artists Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, 2008 Altoids Award from the New Museum, and fellowships from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Illinois Arts Council. Her work has been reviewed in publications that include The New Yorker, Art in America, Artlies, Houston Press, and The Boston Globe. Exhibiting for the first time with Catharine Clark Gallery, Kelley lives and works in Houston, Texas.