Mary Kelly, ‘Sarajewo 1992’, 1999, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery

About Mary Kelly

Feminist artist Mary Kelly mines social and sexual politics through lenses of motherhood, gender equality, and psychology. In an audacious manifestation of the feminist slogan “the personal is political,” Kelly’s Post-Partum Document (1973–79) tracked the first several years of her child’s life. She took a scientific approach to collecting and presenting data, which included copiously annotated scribbles, toenail clippings, and dirty diapers. The conceptual approach to this extended project defines Kelly’s body of work. In subsequent installation-based pieces, she continued to explore how traditional gender roles and expectations affect emotional and psychological growth. Commenting on the effect of her probing work on the viewer, Kelly has said, “I’ve been trying to create quiet, contemplative spaces in which the viewer’s emotional energy is concentrated internally. People often talk about my work in terms of activism, but, ultimately, I think it’s really a reflection on what that means.”

American, b. 1941, Albert Lea, Minnesota