Gayle Kells - Artist
Ottawa, Ontario

studio address: 951 Gladstone Ave., Ottawa, Canada K1Y 3E5
studio phone number (613) 729-1331

Drawing from experiences with everyday life, Gayle Kells' art focuses on issues of female identity that surrounding social, psychological and physiological concerns. Through her paintings, drawings and mixed media work, she uses humor, metaphor and irony to engage the viewer.

Since 1995, after completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts (magna cum laude) from Ottawa University, Gayle has worked from her studio at Enriched Bread Artists, and, while working on her art, completed coursework toward her MA in Canadian Studies at Carleton University. In 1998, she received an Ottawa Art Grant to continue her work on figurative paintings depicting the female nude.

Her work is held internationally in private and public collections including the Governor General's Residence and the Corel Centre. This year, she exhibited in several juried exhibitions including Ottawa Art Gallery's Dining with Miss Mary, L'Affaire est dans la sac at Hull's Galerie Moncalm, Images of Music at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival and at The Art League's Juried Members Show, Alexandria, Virginia.


Artist Statement
Gayle Kells' work focuses on issues of female identity particularly including the continually changing female body in relation to the idealized form. It encompasses the notion of the gaze, perception of women in society, the idealized body, and, generally, the lived lives of women.

Through paintings and drawings, iconic images of the dress, mannequin and dressmaker form are used to represent the female body. These works address female histories including concepts of time and memory. They represent the archetypical idealized, youthful yet elusive body presented in all areas of the media. Empty forms appear as containers of an absent body and represent the unattainable, intangible figure.

Her current series of the full figured female nude displays a body type that is generally hidden from view. This work does not portray the female nude in a perverse, depreciating nor voyeuristic manner but uncovers the reality of the female body. As women age, as their bodies change, or if they occupy a large figure, images of their bodies are not considered beautiful. Unacceptable for public viewing, they are removed from society.

While mainly autobiographical, a personal identity is anonymous, paralleling the historical absence of women from the genre of self-portraiture and from art history in general. How women approach, view, and portray their bodies is integral to establishing their own personal visual language. This work is a step in building this language.

An Enriched Bread Artist
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