Untitled (Scarf Fetish), 1999, 10 x 27 1/2", Mixed Media Collage

Untitled (Scarf Fetish), 1999, 10 x 27 1/2″, Mixed Media Collage

Heather Ryan Kelley

There is a story told of James Joyce that he used to keep in his pocket a pair of doll underwear. Sometimes at dinner he would put them on his fingers and walk them about the table for the amusement of his friends. Lingerie, shoes, dresses, and hair are items familiar in the lexicon of fetishism. The same list may equally describe the elements with which a person constructs a persona. I am interested in how these outward indications of status and sexuality relate to the chemical components of one’s make-up – estrogen for example. Several collages include grids animated by estrogen patches. This work is an inventory of obsessions and recurrent motifs, among them: hands, teeth, dresses, diaphanous scarves, numbers, and spheres, all arranged with a passion for ordering, counting, and measuring.

Heather Ryan Kelley currently resides and teaches in Lake Charles, Louisiana. A Professor at McNeese State University, Kelley has been awarded the Shearman Research Fellowship and a Louisiana division of the Arts Individual Artists Grant. She has shown her work since 1981 at the Hooks-Epstein Galleries in Houston, Still-Zinsel Gallery in New Orleans, the James Joyce Center in Dublin Ireland, Texas A&M University, and Loyola University in New Orleans. Her images have been published in the New Orleans Art Review, Art Papers, Artimes, and the Times-Picayune. Her work is in the collection of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas.