Solo exhibition, Cozy Portraits, Marcia Wood Gallery, October 24 - November 16, 2013.
In the interdisciplinary project, Cozy Portraits, Kristin Skees combines her keen sense of humor and the absurd, with a sensitivity for the psychology of the portrait. Skees works with photography, performance and fiber art, as she explores the "claustrophobia of relationships", in portraits that reveal more than they conceal.
The upcoming exhibition will be Kristin Skees's first at Marcia Wood Gallery and first in Atlanta. In 2011 Skees was a finalist in the Atlanta Celebrates Photography film series, and this year she is included in the Women's Caucus for Art national juried exhibition, presented at Dalton Gallery, Agnes Scott College. Kristin Skees was born in 1980 in Minot, North Dakota, and grew up Birmingham, Alabama. She earned her MFA from the University of Arizona, and a BFA and MLIS from the University of Alabama. Skees currently lives and works in Newport News, VA, where she teaches in the Department of Fine Art at Christopher Newport University. She works in a variety of media, including digital photography, video and installation, and shows her work nationally and internationally.
Skees's portraits can take up to a year to complete. Throughout the process the piece is defined by the relationship, dialog and collaboration with the subjects being cozied. Along with photography, performance and fiber art, traditional women's craft and contemporary DIY culture are elements of Skees's vocabulary. The concealment afforded by the cozies is a fascinating means to suggesting the nature of the relationships, connections, thoughts and emotions of her anonymous subjects. Through the staging of the photograph, each portrait is specific to the subject, but by covering the majority of their identifiable features, the work becomes conceptually abstract and universal. Skees references 18th century British portraiture as an influence in the use of body language and accessories placed to convey meaning in family and domestic portraits. As well, she feels that growing up in the south instilled an appreciation of the gothic whereby the world is "kind of weird but presented in an accepted or unacknowledged way." Skees's approach to constructing meaning through the use of photography and images in an installation context is in the vernacular of such artists as Carrie Mae Weems, whereas a shared sensibility for constructing surreal worlds in a photographic image can be found with artists such as Robert and Shana Parke-Harrison.