Oklahoma City artist Kelly Marie Beeman captures the flatness of her youth perfectly. Her subjects seemingly have no dimension on canvas, due to the clean lines, but the backgrounds add depth. “I grew up in a place that was very flat, not particularly suburban. When I think of suburbs, I think of places that exist as this kind of rescue from the big cities- suburban as being peripheral to the city. There was not a lot going on in Oklahoma City when I was growing up there in the 1990’s. There was no downtown, no skyscrapers. I was perpetually bored, but we entertained ourselves…you create fantasies that kind of get you through the boredom of everyday life.” The characters in her work look exactly that- perpetually bored, their wandering eyes makes the viewer question what thoughts roam their minds. Kelly Marie Beeman magically captures this expansive internal dialogue on stoic faces. They’re thinking of the past, the future, the would of, could have of, should of, the what if’s. They’re not living in the present moment, but the one before, or after. Thus “inviting the contemplation of narrative and interiority” she wants her audience to have.
There’s a listlessness to them. They seemingly don’t interact with one another, or their environment. Yet the lack of personal space between subjects, and bright, bold coloring of the background leaves us with a sense of hope rather than despair. It remains me of David Hockney’s American blandness, with Modigliani’s oblong people feels, but make it fashion. Beeman’s subjects possess a curiosity in their eyes, as opposed to the gloom of the aforementioned artists muses. Reinforcing the eyes truly are the windows to the soul. Her characters are nonchalant not dejected. Which piece is your favorite? Artist: Kelly Marie Beeman