It's always great to catch up with an old friend, but even better when combined with a viewing of their latest inspirational artwork. That's exactly what I got to do this past Saturday when I stopped by the 2018 Spring Open Studios show at Gateway Project Spaces in Newark, NJ. My family and I visited with artist Kelly Vetter and got to see her latest pieces as well as several other works of art by a variety of artists who had all opened their studios to the public that afternoon.
Upon arriving, we found Kelly's studio space and her beautiful bottled artwork displayed nearby. However, Kelly was nowhere to be seen. It didn't take much to get my girls to pose in front of one of Kelly's walls and I then texted the resulting image to Kelly, expecting that the photo would prompt her to appear, and I wasn't disappointed. Soon, her sparkly silver boots bounded into the room. We all got to catch up a bit and, of course, let Kelly tell us about her latest works, entitled Bottled Spirits.
Here is how Kelly describes her current series:
This collection of work continues my practice which I refer to as "Tinker art." I use simple materials such as paper, everyday ephemera, flea market finds, cast off detritus, along with watercolor and ink. When the materials combine, they create narratives of allegory and symbolism.
These 13 bottles represent memories of place, displacement, loss and love. They are created as personal reliquaries that serve as talismans while navigating past pains and sorrows on the journey of self and identity through present and future.
- Kelly Vetter, 2018
I greatly enjoyed these pieces, easily seen yet always walled off from the viewer. There is a simple universal symbolism in that alone. The scale causes one to move in close, and have an intimate, private experience with each. I am also an admirer of craft and the care Kelly took in creating these works is self-evident.
Congratulations, Kelly, on a great series and I look forward to our next meeting!