Almost ten years after completing her degree at York University, Canadian artist Shelagh Keeley moved to New York City in 1984 and began her career as an artist. For the next twenty-four years, she spent her time between New York and Paris, exhibiting her drawings internationally before returning home in 2008 to Toronto, Ontario. Keeley’s conceptual works are influenced by her exploration of topics such as diversity, history, the body and social and political forces.
Keeley holds an Honours BFA in Art History and Anthropology from York University. She has exhibited internationally, and her art can be seen in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Musée d’Art Contemporain in Montreal, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Honolulu Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Harvard Art Museum, Columbia University, Issey Miyake Collection in Tokyo, Japan, Les Musés de la Ville de Paris, and many more.
—Courtesy of Waddington's
Signature: Signed and dated 1998
Drabinsky Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
About Shelagh Keeley
Shelagh Keeley is known for her massive, site-specific wall drawings. She identifies the spaces where she will work, and then plans her piece for six months to a year. The final product is always a mix of forethought and spontaneity—in a performance-like act, Keeley ultimately makes her work in the moment, responding to temporal cues like feelings and weather. She forcefully exerts her body and uses her hands to create symbolic drawings that are fluid and gestural. Keeley’s work is strongly influenced by the spaces where she works. “You can’t fight with architecture,” she says. “It’s a dialogue with the space of the walls.” The drawings, which often include collage elements, are recorded photographically.