With a multi-colored palette and childlike focal figures, Kelly Vivanco's imaginative "Inner Workings", currently on display at Thinkspace, evinces much playfulness. Inspired by memories, a vast imagination, children’s books, and the ability a child has to bring the unbelievable to life, the artist evokes worlds that thrive with fantasy and enchantment. These eccentric paintings delightfully embed the ordinary within whimsical surroundings and peculiar characters.
The dewy-eyed, slightly creepy, protagonists placed in fantasy worlds, enchanted forests, and make-believe lands, embody the innocence of childlike imagination, as well as the desire to curiously explore things on their own. In The Girl With The Egg, one of these the young characters is captured showing an honest expression of being invigorated with wonderment; on each side are birds posted on flat surfaces within rugged walls that flow down to the ground. There is no clue to what she has discovered, but, as she tightly grasps onto her precious egg, her reaction reflects an incredible sight. This is one of the few pieces that are framed within an actual miniature house, containing the dreamy aesthetic and conceptually becoming part of the painting as a whole.
Still referring to innocent childlike expressions, some of the other characters are consumed by meekness or even muted by fear, as seen in Wings and Trying To Braid. As a young boy leans back, almost away from what’s in front of him, he shyly maintains submissive eye contact while wearing his prosthetic wings. In the same manner, a young girl stares with a slight hint of fear as she attempts to braid her stringy red hair.
Vivanco’s collection unravels imaginative encounters that range from mere fantasy to strange wondrous realities full of small pleasures, including a floral-embellished crown, docile wildlife as pets, and of course, detachable wings.
“Inner Workings” runs through December 22nd.
Words and images by Jessica Portillo