Kelly Ballett

Kelly Ballett, Venilia and spilt milk, 2013 (wood, venilia, glass, monitors)

Kelly Ballett talks about the work which saw her nominated for Nova.

CSM’s Nova nominees are put forward by their Course Leaders and represent the best talent across the degree shows. Kelly provides an insight into her work below.

Venilia and spilt milk

“My work deconstructs hierarchies, functional, social and visual, addressing ‘high’ and ‘low’ cultural values, mirroring the discourse of the reciprocal yet polemic relationship between ‘Mainstream’ and Avant-Garde, Fine Art and Applied Art. Dealing with the problem of reaching a middle point, a contested space. 

Using preconceived notions of British syntax and the vernacular, my work goes through as process of defamailliarizing what we are familiar with in order to restructure our perceptions of reality, exploring reality through the problem of fixed semic codes, juxtaposed with the vernacular ‘style’ of living. The main areas of the ‘British condition’, which are played with, and therefore fore-fronted, within the work, are gender and class-consciousness, its humor, embarrassment and self-depreciativeness. All of which are dealt with in a mild-mannered fashion as opposed to bold statements, which asks the viewers to commit more of themselves, to the life of the work.

Whilst existing in close partnership with the associations from all areas of its possible functions, its non-committal attitude results in the work never disclosing its function, so renders itself simultaneously with potential function and devoid of all functions, it remains suspended in a space in between. This space can only be utilized when confronted by the spectator.

The materials used in the piece are important to how the viewer interacts with it as a whole, as the materials themselves are a method of speech. Venilla is a sticky vinyl adhesive, with a wood grain effect, it exists as a copy of nature, a cheaper version, yet completely seductive and immediately accessible. This is played off against the real wood, the bare wood and the painted wood disguised as something else. This conversation between materials is repeated in the relationship between ‘mainstream’ and ‘Avant-garde’, taking its natural functions and fetishizing their mode of address”.