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Keltie Ferris: Interview

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Jarrett Earnest interviews painter Keltie Ferris about her paintings and recent exhibition Body prints at Chapter NY.

Asked about references to digital imagery in her work Ferris comments: "I was definitely thinking about textiles before I was thinking about digitalization. I’m really interested in Impressionism and the way small marks build up to make a whole, which is a lot older than anything digital… I do think it is important to look at all kinds of imagery, and I do. I try to be open and let them infuse my consciousness, and not just have art history influence my painting. I’m in a long lineage of people who have been affected by various types of media, but I am not sitting here trying to make digital paintings. The digital image is just a way of breaking an image down into a grid, which is a micro-moment in a larger issue."

Asked about the distinction between abstraction and figuration she remarks: "I was always making abstractions but I saw them as symbols, or things, or networks, or air, or star constellations. This differentiation between abstract and figurative is an extreme oversimplification; I am interested in a lot of figurative painting but I am placed in a lineage of abstract painting. I think that is because at heart I don’t care about the way people interpret my paintings. I’m very open to someone seeing a hat in my painting when I might see it as an elephant. I’m open to them being completed by the viewer, which puts me in a certain lineage of painting."

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