Elisabeth Kley, ‘Large Round Gold and Red Bottle with Trident Leaves’, 2013, SEASON

About Elisabeth Kley

Claiming, “I’ve always liked the idea of objects looking at you,” Elisabeth Kley produces exuberant ceramic objects and mixed-media drawings full of faces, eyes, and designs that suggest them. She is drawn to flamboyance, populating her works on paper with fan tailed peacocks and portraits of drag queens, artists, and fashion mavens, including Candy Darling, Salvador Dalí, and Coco Chanel. Her ceramics are covered with bright colors and punchy designs, reflecting influences ranging from Islamic tile work to Ballets Russes costumes. But all is not light and happiness in her fanciful creations. Kley wrestles with mortality, keenly felt and inevitable, in all of her work, whose keyed-up colors mask darker emotions: “Bright colors don’t always signify happiness,” she says. “They can express other emotions, perhaps exhibitionism and rage. They may also cover up things you want to hide.”

American, New York, New York, based in New York, New York