As with much of the folk art of the 19th century (indeed, back to the Middle Ages), Kellis medium is oil paint on wood and her subjects are rendered with the same strict two-dimensionality as such past masters of the medium as Grandma Moses.
Yet there is nothing of the follower in Kelli Snively. She imbues her work with a private, warm-hearted vision that is both whimsical and contemporary. Her paintings tweak the folk and naive art traditions of the past with a post-modern wink.
Snively is a Harbor Springs native and is the sister of noted folksinger Kirby. She was drawn to a career in art after receiving a BFA in photography at Western Michigan University. Her current medium of choice is oil on wood. I dont use wood as a substitute for canvas, she says. I paint on wood by choice. It is integral to what I do. I find old, wood picture frames, serving trays, assorted scraps of discarded wood and work with them until an image for a new piece pops into my head.
The result is a refreshing change from the sort of Northern Michigan impressionism found in so many local galleries. A nice change from sailboats and porch geraniums, said Jenny Feldmann of Pooter Olooms Antiques in a Traverse, The Magazine article. Shes one of the genuine talents up here.
Snivelys work has been exhibited in galleries across the country, including New Jersey, Michigan, Colorado and Florida. She has also exhibited in Spain and in the Virgin Islands. Her work is perhaps best known to residents of Northern Michigan who frequent Pooter Olooms, the Harbor Springs gallery that prompted Kellis move back home 13 years ago after having spent several years in New York City.
Some of her images are best described by the titles she gives them: Angel in a Pickup Truck, or Two People in a Fish or Lady with a Cactus Hat. Snively will talk about her work and answer questions during a presentation Tuesday, October 12, at 10 a.m., as part of the Coffee At Ten series held in the Edith Gilbert Gallery of Crooked Tree Arts Center.
The Kelli Snively Show will be on exhibit at the Crooked Tree Arts Center through November 5, 2004. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. on Saturdays.