You Met Me At A Strange Time In My Life
December 17, 2022 - January 14, 2023
Los Angeles, CA | New Image Art Gallery
Barely Even Friends, 2022
36 x 36” in ( 91.44 x 91.44 cm )
Oil on canvas
Fighting Words, 2022
48 x 48” in ( 121.92 x 121.92 cm )
Oil on canvas
Click on works to view details.
New Image Art is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Lebanese-Syrian-American artist Kelly Shami. In her Los Angeles debut exhibition, Shami composes candy-toned oil paintings of jewelry-pierced vivacious flora accompanied by Y2K Arabic semiotics and more.
“A flower blossoms for its own joy.” ― Oscar Wilde
From the cradle to the grave, jewelry is an intrinsic part of the life and identity of women, which could not ring truer for Lebanese-Syrian-American artist Kelly Shami. In her Los Angeles debut exhibition, Shami composes candy-toned oil paintings of jewelry-pierced vivacious flora accompanied by Y2K Arabic semiotics and more. Each painting’s focal point act as a plane of desire infused with yonic-centric devices filled with romantic and glamorous nuances. As indicated by the formal style of the work, Still Life, Shami embeds her own life and experience in each of her exquisitely ripe media-centric pieces. Each detail is the amalgamation of Shami’s existence as a first-generation American who grew up during the Y2K era surrounded by her family of jewelers.
Layering bright, vivacious colors, kitsch textures such as plastic, metallics, and faux fur, and bling as far as the eye can see, Shami takes a maximalist approach in rendering symbols of consumption as a form of grounding. Her practice is rooted in the middle eastern millennial lexicon, creating a language based on the consumption of two opposing worlds but meeting together with glamour on the canvas. She utilizes the accessories, specifically the gems and stones of each studded piercing, as signifiers to weave differing mythologies through the lens of commodified goods. From the evil eye piercing to the signature rasta colors piercing to the precious pearls, each gem adds to the psychological grand narrative of Shami’s paintings. These accessories are challenged by the ethereal, light, and transient blooms juxtaposed with Arabic goods. It is evident that Shami investigates beauty as it manifests itself in the natural world through flowers and how it is mediated through human intervention.