Kellie Lehr

  • Artist website:

What does it mean to fold? Folding can involve many things in art and life—everything from DNA to our skin folds. There’s an embodiment that speaks to change, time and space. Mathematically, folding helps us solve problems. In day-to-day life, it helps us organize chaos. My latest series of works focuses on the use of raw canvas, exploring alternative ways of presenting paintings and utilizing the simple act of folding. The work consists of abstract paintings, soft sculptures, installations, and soft books made with ink, charcoal, acrylic and oil on raw canvas. I start with an unstretched cotton canvas that I fold, ink, wash and dry outside in the sun. The folding is slow, methodical and tactile, not exalted. It speaks to the everyday activity of living in the world. It also contains tension. Areas are hidden and revealed, patterns made and disrupted, the unexpected embraced.

I’m interested in how frequencies, patterns, and gestures can create a flux of time and space and how the canvas holds a memory of its previous dimensional states. I see painting as a performative action and a ritual where I am a co-creator. Other movements and artists inform this process: Supports/Surface, Neo-Concrete (Lygia Clark), Pattern and Decoration, Color Field, and Feminist Performance Art (Mierle Laderman Ukeles). The process of folding is physical and feels intimate. Folding, unfolding, and refolding is a reiterative process. A pattern emerges. There are infinite ways to fold, and although my materials are humble, the options feel limitless.


Fear of Heights
Oil, acrylic, charcoal, and pencil on canvas
61" x 38"

Morning in Lavinia
Ink, charcoal, acrylic, pencil, oil on canvas
84" x 29" x 5"

Play it as it Lays
Charcoal, ink, acrylic, and cotton cloth on canvas
86" x 64" x 4.5"

Rhapsody II
Ink on canvas and canvas cushions
15' x 13' x 5.3'