B.F.A. St. Olaf College, Minnesota 2001
M.F.A. Yale University School of Art, 2009
Mary Reid Kelley combines painting, performance, and a distinctive wordplay-rich poetry in her polemical, graphically stylized videos. Performing as a First World War soldier, a grisette in revolutionary Paris, or the Minotaur, she resurrects characters that embody particular facets of ideas in time. Her historically specific tableaux enclose dilemmas of mortality, sex, and estrangement, navigated by the characters in punning dialogue that traps them between tragic and comic meanings.
Her video works are made with the collaboration of her partner, artist Patrick Kelley, who films the work and constructs their detailed digital sets. The videos have been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Rose Art Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, Dorsky Art Museum at SUNY New Paltz, Austin Contemporary, Wexner Center for the Arts, MACRO Rome, SITE Santa Fe, Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art in Karlsruhe, Germany, Fredericks & Freiser in New York, Susanne Vielmetter Projects in Los Angeles, and Pilar Corrias Gallery in London. The video works are in the public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Yale University Art Gallery.
Mary Reid Kelley has received a CAA Visual Arts Fellowship, Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant, and Joseph H. Hazen Rome Prize. In 2011, the making of The Syphilis of Sisyphus was documented by Art21 and featured in its sixth-season episode entitled “History.”
Mary and Pat have lectured on their work and process at Ohio State University, University of Tennessee, New York University, Columbia University, St Lawrence University, SUNY Purchase, the Norfolk School of Art, Yale University, CalArts, Mary Baldwin College, SMFA Boston, University of Pennsylvania, St. Olaf College, and Brandeis University.