Emerging Artists | Kelly Carmody

Old-master style with a modern touch

Kelly Carmody, Mandarins With Almonds, oil, 6 x 8.

Kelly Carmody, Mandarins With Almonds, oil, 6 x 8.

This story was featured in the November 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  November 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Kelly Carmody’s classical realist paintings hark back to art of the 17th and 18th centuries, and particularly to the powerful, single-figure portraits of painters like Édouard Manet. “I always want my subjects to look strong,” says Carmody, who also strives to convey harmony and humanity in her large, often life-size portraits. “I want that to be inherent in the structure of a painting.”

The artist’s commanding, nearly 6-foot-tall portrait WOMAN WITH ROOSTER portrays a young woman who radiates strength and poise in her confident posture and steady gaze. The oil—one of about 50 finalists in the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition—is on view in a national juried exhibition at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery through early January. “That was probably the most exciting news ever in terms of accomplishments,” says Carmody, whose list of achievements is rapidly growing. Last year, she was elected into the Guild of Boston Artists, and her award-winning painting PATRICK graced the July/August cover of Fine Art Connoisseur.

Carmody emulates the painting style of the old masters, but she also incorporates contemporary objects and clothing that bring implied narratives to her works. “I try not to do anything too overt,” says the artist. People have suggested she include iconic items like Nike shoes, but Carmody isn’t trying to reference a specific time period. Rather, she’s choosing and editing from the things around her to support her vision, she says.

Carmody studied painting at the Massachusetts College of Art, at the Art Students League of New York, and in the studio of artist Numael Pulido. Pulido and his wife, Shirley, a painter and poet, were “huge influences,” says Carmody. Among other things, the couple taught her how to look at works by the old masters differently, directing her attention to color and temperature balance, value structures, and light and dark patterns.

Although portraits remain her first love, Carmody has also experienced success with her smaller-scale still-life paintings featuring elegant compositions reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch still lifes. Recently, she started a series of interiors in which she’s exploring aspects of space and atmosphere. “I’m learning every day,” she says.

Carmody paints and teaches at her studio in Waltham, MA. —Kim Agricola

representation
Ann Long Fine Art, Charleston, SC; Sloane Merrill Gallery, Boston, MA; the Guild of Boston Artists, Boston, MA.

This story was featured in the November 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  November 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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