A still from “In the Body of the Sturgeon" by Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley. The artists will screen the video and talk about their work Sept. 17 at College of the Atlantic. PHOTO COURTESY OF COA

Video artists arrive for residency

BAR HARBOR — Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley will screen their video work and talk about their artistic process Tuesday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Gates Center at College of the Atlantic.

The artists are the first guests of a new Artist-in-Residence program at the college. They combine painting, performance, and a distinctive wordplay-rich poetry in their polemical, graphically stylized videos.

The pair will screen “In the Body of the Sturgeon,” which premiered at Tate Liverpool. For the entire month of September the pair will occupy the COA Ethel H. Blum Gallery with the tools and activities of their art making.

Their work has been shown in solo exhibitions at Tate Liverpool, the Baltimore Museum of Art, The High Line, Kunsthalle Bremen, the Hammer Museum, the ICA Boston and SITE Santa Fe.

“Mary and Patrick’s work is extraordinary, to a certain extent, visually eccentric, and narratively poetic — it is very different from work shown here before,” said COA Professor Catherine Clinger. “This is a rare opportunity to engage with two artists with a world-renowned practice and to view some of their remarkable work.”

“Their video art is almost like a conjured costume drama, often based on ancient stories or cataclysmic historical events — the result of meticulous research. They build sets, create characters, design and execute the makeup and costuming. They’re very sophisticated, but that belies the transgressive humor of the productions—which take up to a year or more to make,” Clinger said.

“While here, they’ll spend time working on and researching ideas about new and future work. The artists will participate in our program through a collaborative, open-door process involving students and faculty.”

The artist residency program is being developed with the Marion “Kippy” Boulton Stroud Foundation, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, with the aim of continuing Stroud’s legacy of contributing to the exploration of the arts on Mount Desert Island.

Stroud was the founder of the Acadia Summer Arts Program, also known as Kamp Kippy, which hosted hundreds of artists and their guests and families over its nearly three-decade run.

The inaugural residency will help determine the structure of future engagements in an organic way, Clinger said.

“Because we are an experimental college, we want this to be generative. We will have a few scheduled sessions with classes, but the artists want to be really present in the community,” she said. “We’ll be working together from both directions figuring out a framework that could be transferred to a future program.”

Philadelphia’s Fabric Workshop was founded by Stroud in 1977 as an experimental space for artists working in textiles and related media. She added exhibition space and renamed it the Fabric Workshop and Museum in 1996. The Workshop has hosted and commissioned projects from artists including Marina Abramović, Louise Bourgeois, Claes Oldenburg and Roy Lichtenstein. Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley will have a show at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2021, the culmination of a two-year residency.

Mary and Patrick’s video work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, W Magazine, La Repubblica, Vogue, The New Yorker, Artforum, Flash Art, Frieze, ARTnews and Art in America. Their group shows include the Front Triennial, Haus Der Kunst, Munich, CCA Warsaw and MACBA Barcelona. The pair live and work in upstate New York.

The COA Human Ecology Forum is a free, weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend.

Contact 288-5015.

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