Keith A. Perelli 

Keith Perelli 

My figure-based work is often a fusion of illusory abstraction and naturalism. I attempt to render the figures as though they were stripped of our ordinary facade of protections such as our physical gestures and emotions but also our clothing and boundaries of space. I am interested in exposing our vulnerabilities but also projecting a sense of strength through subtle and contemplative expressions of the faces and gestures of the figure. It is thought they are stoic even when surrounded by ever shifting planar shapes, lines and bold expressive marks. My current work is the result of years flirting with that abstract process as a force that shifts space, surrounds the figure and has the power to create a tenuous sense of balance. As I slowly began to extract the figure and its dominance within my work, the subjects themselves became quiet veils of their former selves. I liked this subtlety and I wanted to challenge myself to see if I could find new ways of communicating ideas through an almost meditative way of working. I liked how abstraction made me focus on the physicality of the materials while weighing my choices.

The majority of my work is from my imagination but in most series, I have sought to explore issues of gravity such as the evolving rights of minorities, LGTBQ and minority groups. Even though there seem to be  moments of progress, there are always complex factors of our socialised and internalised strife with the “other.” I don’t see my work as a problem solver, but one that raises those moments of empathy and unity within the viewer. The soul can be arresting when exposed or tapped into, painting that sense of humanity on the outside of our facades, is perhaps the most challenging notion to the portrait painter.