Kelly Vivanco's paintings owe much to popular visual forms like children's illustration, comic books and animation. In fact it is a perfect visual style for the ideas she's exploring. On the surface, this is fantasy. But fantasy, like myth, has long been used to explore the rich story-telling potential of young heroes and heroines on the cusp of adulthood. Her whole body of work is a vast non-linear narrative about young adults, clinging to imaginative realms of make believe and magic, but using them to explore what it means to be independent, self-reliant and possibly alone. To be fair, her individual paintings are often far simpler in scope and ambition; small character studies of anthropomorphized animals, and simple portraits of her wide-eyed young characters. The actual paintings, seemingly simple enough, are painted with a delicacy and deftness that might be easy to miss (see detail pictures like this on her flickr page). This deceptive simplicity is reflective of her work in general. It is the accumulation of these loving little touches that help realize an entire alternate world in which her principle protagonists can discover themselves and where we can recognize something in ourselves.
Go to her website kellyvivanco.com to see more.
"Curious Bouquet" 16" x 16" acrylic on panel 2009
"Sisters" 16" x 20" acrylic on panel 2008
"Gone Astray" 16" x 24" acrylic on panel 2009
I really wish this one could be viewed larger. Sorry folks.
"Predawn" acrylic on panel 2008
one of the many animal characters in Kelly Vivanco's world:
"King Woodchuck" 7.5" x 9.5" acrylic on panel
and a lovely example of charming old-fashioned story-telling with a one word title that sets up the impetus for so many great adventures:
"Exploring" 20" x 20" acrylic on panel