Kellie Romany is an abstract painter interested in bodily representation, materiality, and the history of the painting process. Using a color palette of skin tones, Romany creates objects that act as a catalyst for discussion about human connections, femininity, and race and the systems surrounding these themes. She received a Masters of Fine Arts in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008. Romany has exhibited both nationally and internationally, including museum shows at the High Museum of Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and DePaul Art Museum.
SELECTED speaking engagements & performances
Hirshorn Museum of Art, Washington DC
Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago IL
Arts Club Chicago, Chicago IL
Indiana University, Bloomington IN
Westtown School, West Chester, PA
Alice Yard, Trinidad & Tobago, WI
Arts Incubator, The University of Chicago
Illinois State University, Normal, IL
Patron Gallery, Chicago IL
Lukes, Kat, “A Beautiful Mess: Abstraction as Strategy// Out of Easy Reach.” The Seen Journal, August 16, 2018.
My approach to painting is an equally intimate and physically consuming process of making, though the work itself can be seemingly bare and minimalist. I am fascinated by the materiality and properties of paint—its manipulation with outside influences, or lack thereof, within a work. The content of my artwork— abstracted bleeds, clots, rings, cracks, and rippling wave forms—aim to recall relationships between bodies, biology, and race. I am particularly interested in phenomena such as natural reactions, the reproductive cycle, and the parts of genetic make-up that are not always easily seen. My works tend toward having a corporeal aura, free from artificiality in both color and form.
In my work, I look to the diversity of the human race for connections between our constantly shifting definitions of otherness, race and beauty. This slant on beauty and identity stems in part from my experience as a young woman from a Black/Indian family, my birth in Trinidad, and its juxtaposition to being raised there within a diverse island culture and later in a white-centric small town in the United States. Using a color palette of skin tones, I paint to create portraits of diversity that blur the lines of figure and non-representation. Through my practice, I am owning not only the final choice of the colors exposed, but by process am able to show the physical histories of where the paint was coerced over time. Foregoing the artist's’ brush to push and pull color, I manipulate the paint by moving canvas, paper, or ceramic with my own hands, watching for—rather than forcing—reactions. When working on a large scale I rush from one end of the canvas to the next, catching and re-distributing the movement and placement of color to build layers over time. The result is the revealing of a history, a landscape of buildup, erosion, stoppage and careening through the archive of the paint’s movement as a reaction to my body.