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Susan Kelly Exhibits Works

By Bendik Sorensen
Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

There is a wave of street-inspired art at LIU Post this semester. Last week, Susan Kelly, a senior Art major, held her senior thesis show in the Hillwood Commons S.A.L. gallery. Her show, “HeartBeats,” had impulses from both the street world and music world, as her works are based on portraits of her favorite musical artists. The show ran from March 16 – March 20. The opening reception on Wednesday, March 18, had a gallery space crowded with students, professors, and advisors.

Photo by Tia-Mona Greene
Photo by Tia-Mona Greene

As Kelly pointed at one of her portraits, a painting on vinyl canvas of Korean artist Zico, she explained her inspiration. “They scanned his brain and figured out that his brain only rests like 20 percent [of the time],” Kelly said. While most people have much less brain activity at any given time, to her it symbolizes a willpower and determination that inspired her.

Kelly used the gallery space in a very tidy manner, un-crowded, and with no overfilled walls despite using varied mediums. These ranged from stencils and spray paint on a dress, to charcoal on a corkboard.

“I found that on my way home one day. Someone put it [the corkboard] outside with the garbage, and I stopped and grabbed it,” she said. “It’s been sitting around for a while, and now I finally get to use it!” The corkboard isn’t the only salvaged piece of society. Kelly had several paintings on wood that she also found on the way home. “It’s a door someone cut in half, so they fit in my car, and it’s a perfect size for my work!” she said, explaining another piece.

Kelly has also used other techniques such as screen-printing on wet clay and glass cutting to make a portrait look like stained glass. It’s all done with an eye towards street art, sharing stylistic features, including few powerful colors, simplistic motifs, and varied media. She also sneaked a piece into the “Concrete To Data” show in the Steinberg Museum of Art in Hillwood, which was curated by Professor Ryan Seslow.

Kelly had taken his class on street art, and, “as he [Seslow] was setting up [the exhibit], I went there and asked,” she said. An installation piece in “Concrete To Data” consists of cement castings, similar to Kelly’s in her own show, and now it’s a part of what she calls “Guerilla art,” where she has subtle but visible artworks around campus, including an altered Picasso poster and stencil sprays on the snow.

After she graduates in May, Kelly aims to continue her Fine Arts studies with a master’s degree at LIU Post. She’s also going to South Korea with Professor Seung Lee’s exchange program in the summer, which includes a two-week trip to different universities.

Last semester, students from the South Korea exchange program came to Post with their own show in the S.A.L. Gallery. “We’re going there and having a show at each university we’re [visiting],” Kelly added.

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