Mary Reid Kelley is a New York-based American artist whose career has mostly focused on short narrative films. She was born in Greenville, but her work has since spread to other large cities in the United States. Mary is known to collaborate with her husband Patrick Kelley on all of her pieces, which have since been included in exhibitions and have appeared in large projects (Art21). Mary has a Bachelor of Arts from St. Olaf College and a Master of Arts from Yale, but she is more normal in the complication process of many of her books. Mary is trained as a painter but in many of her videos, she assumes the creative role with the assistance of her partner. Mary plays all the characters in the content that they produce with Patrick especially when it involves characters speaking in a prose verse that she has personally composed. In her age, Mary has managed to advance her acting through her unique black and white background in the coverage of issues that pertain the plight of women at war and the Greek culture.
Mary is only in her mid-30s, but the uniqueness of her style in production has gained her so much fame and gotten her many awards. She was recently nominated as a subject of the Hammer Project, which describes how much of an established artist Mary has developed over the year (Miska). Mary is known for her unique style that embodies black and white videos that depict drama. She develops her videos as a method of communicating contemporary issues that are related to modern pop culture and puts less emphasis on what the public could perceive the roles she plays considering the controversies that have been highlighted. Most importantly, Mary’s works have been noted to be centered on gender, class and urban development (Miska). The moral authority that guides her films is that the satire works show the desire to achieve progress in a context that features dense cultural differences. In most of her projects, it is noted that the films take place at a time where there are social upheavals, political instability, and recurrent wars. Mary did her research and noted that in a majority of these settings, the experience that the women felt was largely lost and what they go through is not recorded. She noted that the poetry, literature, and art that was produced by men was largely focused on serving the male interests with little regard to the female experience
Mary has, therefore, been motivated by the desire to pull the women from the margins of history and include them in the contemporary art practices. In many of her works, she has focused many of her female protagonists to assume varying roles that illustrate them as workers. She primarily presents the characters are nurses, prostitutes or as factory workers in a bid to describe the plight of the women. For example, in a 2009 exhibition that is featured in her gallery, she describes a play where she is seen to assume the role of a woman in the World War 1. The exhibition presents two clips that show a woman in black and white and where she is presented as a sailor and a soldier. Furthermore, Kelley also appears as a nurse on the western front with the style being unique in the manner in which it explores diverse cultural issues.
It is undisputed that Mary’s style features elements of humor and complexity that require deep intuition to understand. There is a component of the intertwining of the historical and literary elements that create a feeling of an artist with massive experience in the use of rhyme and other artistic devices (Miska). The manipulation of language is arguably the most important skill that Mary exploits in her works. The 2009 exhibition can also be seen to describe the artist’s prowess in this segment because it is presented in a manner that features before hand-drawn backdrops. The faces are made to assume a painted white image where her eyes are obscured in some form of balls. In the context that presented Mary as a woman whose eyes are embedded in the ping-pong balls, it becomes apparent that there is a rhyming dialogue that is primarily composed on puns. Many of the styles that she exploits in the play involve the WWI-era that has characteristic of the patriotic doggerel. A similar trend is noted in a 2009 presentation of her work titled “the Saddest Sadist.” In the context of Sadie, a sailor is shown to assure the subject regarding the rule that the Britannia rules the waves.
Mary has also demonstrated aspects of Greek literature and culture in her creations. In her video titles Priapus Agonistes, the artist imitates the role played by the Minotar who is a major character in Greek mythology (Miska). She presents herself as a person who is both a half-man and half-woman, a feature that is used to imitate the Greek culture in the representation of their gods. In fact, she has even been described to have a tendency of making a particular character appear in several of her other production in a way to emphasize the role and the theme that the character plays. For example, the Minotar has also been noted to feature in the video Swinburne Pasiphae. The video shows an exploration of the family history of the character. In the second video, Mary explores the theme of life unpublished by the text as a Victorian poet. In Mary’s last video that is also her final plays in the complication of the trilogy, The Thong of Dionysus (Miska). The completion of the trilogy followed the premiership of the Hammer. In the Thong of Dionysus, Mary plays the role of a man. She takes a complete costume presentation that is anatomically correct for the role. In an explanation following the criticism she received, Mary describes the that she was motivated by the fact that she was inspired by the godly role that Dionysus assumed. In a video interview, Mary responded “When I made the character of Dionysus and was working through what he probably should look like, you know he’s a god… I thought he should be nude. He shouldn’t be wearing sweatpants or pants of any kind” (Miska). The impression thus depicts a character whose primary role is to illustrate the controversial bits of the society because provided it embodies some form of culture, she was free to exploit it. The Thong of Dionysus is a highly referred to as a video that was completed in 2015 and that is perceived as one of the most important in her works. In fact, it will be the part of her works that will be central in the assessment of her overall style is described in this movie.
It is also worth describing the role that Mary plays in The Syphilis of Sisyphus where there is a repetition in the role of a character in a play. It is an 11-minute video it is more of a similar case of characterization but in this case, the artist goes further back in time the setting of the background (Boucher). Mary assumes the role of Sisyphus where she is depicted as prostitute back in time. There is a lot of artistic involvement because of the sets of drawing that are used in the process. Her husband and fellow actor Patrick described how the set of Mary’s drawings were time-consuming and the fact that there is the utility of 3D animation creates a complex effect that had been perceived in a majority of works they did before. When the video begins Sisyphus is seen applying make-up on her face while asserting that “Nature sold me a lie, / and I’ve kept the deceit / On my face to remind me: / Her falsehoods repeat / Like the seasons renew” (Boucher). She is then seen to come from the Paris street that is composed of a variety of street performers. Mary’s goal is always to promote beauty and artifice which usually prompts her to consider putting characters in their natural environment.
The other feature that Mary commonly includes in the buildup of her videos is her linguistic prowess. There are notable elements of her works that are most featured including the depiction of philological dexterity. It is common to find that there is bilingual wordplace in a majority of the works that the artist does (Boucher). For example, in The Syphilis of Sisyphus, Mary states, “the meter is different from the verse in Sadie, which was written in iambic meter” (Boucher). Reid was trying to highlight how she had developed in the English language but also in the fact that she was using it to express issues of national and world importance. In a response to her style, Mary is overheard saying that her motivation resulted from the experience that she learned about the First World War. She deduced that the best way to express the effects was to narrate them in the form of video clip in a humorous manner
In summary, it is worth noting that Mary Reid Kelly is an American actor whose rise to fame has been as a result of the unique acting style and unmatched setting that is featured in a majority of her works. She works alongside her colleague and husband Patrick within whom they have acted videos that have covered varied themes such as Greek mythology, the plight of women at war, the experience of women as sex workers and what they go through as medical professionals. The most relevant works are the videos Priapus Agonistes, the second as Swinburne’s Pasiphae and the third and final as The Thong of Dionysus. It is, therefore, affirmed that from the experience that is apparent in her plays, Mary Reid Kelly is a competent actor whose prowess is depicted in her works.
Art21. “Mary Reid Kelley in ‘History.’” Art 21 (2012): n. pag. Web.
Boucher, Brian. “Mary Reid Kelley, In Plain Frenglish.” Art in America (2011): n. pag. Web.
Miska, Sandra. “Avant-Garde Artist Mary Reid Kelley Uses Video to Explore Greek Mythology.” Entertainment Voice (2017): n. pag. Web.