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20 May 2023 | 7:00 pm

Rea Kelly

On display in the Dennis Tourbin Members Gallery at NAC
Join us for a casual reception on Saturday from 7-9PM


“Let those that play your clowns speak no more than is set down for them”
– William Shakespeare (Hamlet | Act III, Scene II)

Typically portrayed by men, I am taking the symbolism and facade of the clown character to re-examine how ideas of performance, character play, and humour operate in methods of coping with and challenging systems of power. In one regard, through the aesthetics and ideology associated with the clown, I’m exploring how gender affects outward expression and the way femme bodies perform in order to fulfill societal expectations. The portrayal of a clown mocks and de-romanticizes the feminine experience as it exists within a patriarchal context. Additionally, in spite of the comedic relief clowns are expected to provide, the figures and set ups within the work are in control of whether or not that tension gets broken.

But really, it’s not that serious.

Rea Kelly is a Niagara Falls, Ontario born artist whose practice is currently based in the Niagara Region. Much of her work deals with the sense of self and identity, memory, as well as the psychological. She likes to deal with these themes through the figure, portraiture, and architecture and works primarily within drawing, painting, and mixed media. Currently, Rea is working as the Education Coordinator at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery and is a co-organizer of the local SWFT (Supporting Women, Femme, and Trans) Artist Group.


20 May 2023
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm