Kellie Gillespie's Artist Statement
My work, mostly sculptural, focuses on issues specifically associated with mental health, as well as the concepts of recovery and being a survivor. Through my direct relationship with my chosen subject matter, I embrace the controversial concept of mental illness as I investigate the problematic place it holds in society. My artwork is an openly honest representation of myself as I portray personal experiences in an attempt to reach out to those who have also experienced similar turmoil. I share profoundly intimate obstacles, both mental and physical, in my work, as I pay homage to those individuals less fortunate in their attempts at recovery. In my pieces, I discuss the functionality of the mind as it struggles to persevere and make sense of the reality the body is forced to live in.
I specialize in the use of everyday found and forgotten objects in the fabrication of my sculptural and artistic explorations. My incorporation of mundane, undervalued materials explores the symbolism in that which is neglected and disregarded as it pertains to those who are labeled by society as unworthy and damaged. The usage of unappreciated objects is exhibited throughout my portfolio, as it strongly correlates with the critical themes I address. Repetition is a strong motif in my work and through the duplication of a singular item, I am able to demonstrate its hidden value. My artwork aims to portray; the potential in that which is considered broken, the value in that which is considered worthless, and the importance in that which is considered forgotten.
I consider myself a ‘process’ artist as the intricate meaning of my artwork is embedded in the intensive preparation and physically demanding fabrication of the work itself. My abstract work assimilates a strong aesthetic nature and embodies an illusionistic quality as it forgoes the definition of what an object should and should not be. I find stability in the insanity of the tedious repetitive production of a piece, and I not only consider it my therapy, but a further means of deepening the conversation of both art and mental health.
I am unashamed to admit that art has saved my life, and through the acknowledgment of this discovery, I have uncovered the importance art has in our worldly existence. Generating art pieces that candidly and straightforwardly advocate for mental health, I disregard all notions of contemporary society that regard the topic as socially improper or uncomfortable. Through the artwork I create, I attempt to break the negative connotations surrounding the subject of mental illness and allow those who have suffered, or are suffering, to reach out and finally have a chance to talk about their experience.