McClain Gallery is pleased to present In the Studio, an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and prints by Kelli Vance (b.1983 Garland, TX). This selection of work from the past twelve years witnesses Vance's evolving narrative in producing images of women that range from intimate yet estranged, to ritualistic and meditative. Vance's photorealistic portraits often explore psychological spaces that investigate her anxieties, sensuality, and identity, and, increasingly, spirituality.
Her process involves staging a scene, frequently using herself as the protagonist, then taking photographs that will become studies for the final work. Two small studies, both titled Honey, 2012 revisit a much larger portrait from 2009 where she poured honey at the crown of her head; here, with Minter-esque cropping, Vance captures the ooziness of the liquid now trickling past her nose and over her mouth. In her paintings, the operative tension between a seductive surface and an obscured narrative intentionally keeps the viewer at arm's length. Apropos of isolation, the sitters often seem worlds away. Our Inner World Is Close, But We Never Go There, 2017, also implies that they are sometimes disconnected from their psyche. But, equally omnipresent in their stillness is contemplation, which suggests fertile ground for both change and growth.
Kelli Vance currently lives and works in Houston. She received her BFA from the University of North Texas and her MFA from the University of Houston in 2008. Vance was a finalist for the Hunting Art Prize in 2013 and completed the Roswell Artist Residency Program in Roswell, New Mexico in 2008. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Cris Worley Gallery, Dallas in 2014 and 2020, the Texas Biennial Anniversary Show at Big Medium, Austin in 2013 and at Samuel Freeman Gallery, LA in 2011. This is her third solo show at McClain Gallery.