Kelcy Beckstrom

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1. “Lead into Morning”

2020 oil on canvas

L 36” x H 24”

 

2. “Dying Growth”

2020 oil on canvas

L 30” x H 18”

 

3. “Disintegration”

2019 oil on canvas

L 36” x H 18”

 

4. “Entanglement”

2019 oil on canvas

L 18” x H 18”

 

5. “Pinkie” with Preschool Collaborators Addie, Anthony, Chloe, Layla, and Liam

2020 acrylic and oil on canvas

L 48” x H 60”

6. “Day/Night” with Second Grade Collaborator Julian

2020 watercolor and acrylic on canvas

L 9” x H 7”

7. “Lucidity”

2019 oil on canvas

L 36” x H 24”

 

8. “Dream State”

2019 oil on canvas

L 24” x H 24”

 

9. “Untitled Drawing #5”

2020 marker on paper

L 5.5” x H 8”

 

10. “Drawing Diptych 1”

2020 marker on paper

L 5.5” x H 8” each

 

11. “Untitled Drawing #7”

2020 marker on paper

L 5.5” x H 8”

My paintings explore space through the layering of transparencies and opacities, using the conscious and unconscious mind to achieve an atmospheric surface that explores an inner psychological headspace. As a preschool teacher, I noticed my students making incredible gestures with any material they could get. I took their ingenuousness as inspiration, allowing myself to take chances and make mistakes. This led to a practice of continuous changes of pace, experimentations, and processes.

 

The paintings rely on history. Layers and layers of information, compiled to create the final image. These layers are spatial, hazy, atmospheric. For some paintings, I worked directly on top of found paintings or old paintings of my own. I allowed myself to destroy what existed previously and make a new work using the history that was already embedded onto the canvas. Shapes from previous paintings could remain on the canvas until the new painting was complete, or everything that formerly was disappeared throughout the new layers. The history proved to be an integral part of my practice. The process of adding and subtracting information creates a complex space that visually intertwines foreground, middle ground, and background. It becomes unclear to the viewer which layer comes first and last, becoming a point of interest throughout my thought processes.

 

For other paintings, I brought my students directly into my painting practice. Putting them around a canvas, I gave them freedom with the acrylic paint to make any marks their bodies wanted to make. The resulting surfaces were spontaneous and active. With the kid’s work being “messy,” and my brush strokes integrating structure and order into the compositions, I discovered a dynamic between unconscious and conscious. This idea required me to make decisions both technically and experimentally. I had to analyze the works and decide what the compositions lacked and work out how to impose a conscious sensibility.

 

The collective of these experimentations all lead me to the reasons why I paint. I paint because it allows me a sense of discovery, and leads me to the child-like feeling of the unknown, the excitement of finding a new way to work. By working into my student’s painting or a found painting, I am harnessing unfamiliar moves and making decisions at different levels of consciousness. The collaboration between myself and the kids comes from bringing a higher awareness to the work and making conscious decisions about how to create space, forcing order into unrestrained painting. The goal of making these paintings is to find the dynamic, the push and pull between conscious and unconscious marks.