ACCALIA AND THE SWAMP MONSTER
August 22-January 11, 2015
From August 22, 2014 to January 11, 2015, the LSU Museum of Art presents Accalia and the Swamp Monster: Works by Kelli Scott Kelley. Kelley’s exhibition takes museum visitors on a surreal journey through a haunted southern landscape, one populated by swamp monsters and shadowed by our deepest thoughts and darkest nightmares. Inspired by Kelley’s recently published book of the same name, Accalia and the Swamp Monster is both an entrancing display of Kelley’s art and an affirmation of the transformative power of fairy tales—a story of despair, atonement, and transformation told in the whisper of a remembered bedtime story. An opening reception will be held Thursday, September 4, from 6-8 p.m., free to Members, $10 for non-members.
Accalia and the Swamp Monster features fifty of Kelley’s intricate mixed media works, painted and drawn on repurposed antique linens. These fifty works together form a loosely autobiographical fairy tale inspired by Kelley’s research into the lore of Louisiana swamplands and meditations on her own past. Harkening to the traditions of women’s handicrafts as well as Louisiana folklore, Kelley’s exhibition examines the ways that historical perceptions of gender, family and place have impacted her personal experiences as well as her practice of art-making.
“The fairy-tale-like story of Accalia and the Swamp Monster,” Kelley says, “is based on my own autobiography and dreams. The images in my artwork have often referenced fairy tales and fables, and so I became curious about writing a mythological narrative as a starting point for a series of artworks. After travelling to Northern Italy to study Renaissance image cycles, I wrote Accalia and the Swamp Monster, and made the intimate, personal works on display in this exhibition.”
Kelley, an Associate Professor at the LSU School of Art, drew upon Roman mythology, Jungian analysis, and the psychology of fairy tales to create Accalia and the Swamp Monster, a deeply personal exhibition that speaks to the role of folklore and fairy tales in contemporary American life. “Kelley’s work,” writes Dr. Katie Pfohl, curator of the exhibition, “uniquely adapts the traditions of Louisiana folklore to craft a thoroughly modern fable yet still haunted by Louisiana’s history and Kelley’s own past.”
Accalia and the Swamp Monster: Works by Kelli Scott Kelley is organized by the LSU Museum of Art and curated by Dr. Katie Pfohl, curator at the LSU Museum of Art.
This exhibition was made possible through the generous support of John G. Turner and Jerry G. Fischer, The Winifred and Kevin P. Reilly, Jr. Fund, Michael D. Robinson and Donald J. Boutté and the Friends of Kelli Scott Kelley.
Supported by a grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts as administered by the Arts council of Greater Baton Rouge.
Image credit: Top: Kelli Scott Kelley, Into the Monster, 2013. Acrylic on repurposed antique linen, 31 ½ x 13 ½ inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Above, from right to left: Kelli Scott Kelley, From the Depths, 2010. Acrylic and stitching on repurposed antique linen, 20 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.; Kelli Scott Kelley,Rampage, 2011. Acrylic on repurposed paper and antique linen, 35 x 20 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.
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