chandi kelley

All That Glitters: Chandi Kelley Presents Nature's Understated Opulence

This month, Hillyer Art Space is embracing FotoWeek by featuring three phenomenal local photographers. The gallery has been thoughtfully curated to display the incredible range found in the art of photography, the three artists showing are Chandi Kelley, D.B. Stovall, and Pamela H. Viola. Upon entering the gallery you are hit with Stovall’s intensely saturated Americana landscapes in A Slower Way of Seeing: Photographs of the American Vernacular, the viewer is then transferred to an airy, spacious room featuring Kelley’s Unnatural Histories that contrast Stovall’s bold, colorful images.  The member-curated space presents Having a Ball, Viola’s playful, refreshing take on photography, borrowing ideas from Japanese prints and Islamic geometric patterns.

In Unnatural Histories, photographer Chandi Kelley uses gold leaf to highlight the intricate details in simple natural objects. The objects’ bright, crisp colors are highlighted by the gold and carry a new sense of luminosity. Kelley says her goal is to “manipulate these objects until they become relics of a false natural history, teetering on a line between the familiar and the unfamiliar”. Kelly brings us earthly materials in a luxurious way, with rich shades and large-format layouts that allow the item to capture the entire frame.  Aureate, Gilded Rose, and Pebble (as meteor) are three standout pieces that are captivating and display Kelley’s sense of restraint in her gold application. In these works, Kelley creates a delicate balance between rustic and sumptuous goods. In Aureate, she chooses to photograph a log on a wood-grained table. It is a risk to photograph the wood-on-wood but Kelley uses the juxtaposition between the similar, yet different, materials and effectively emphasizes the beauty of the imperfect log. Unnatural Histories is an exploration of nature that is beautiful, striking, and thought provoking. Careful placement of a few gold overlays inspires the viewer to open their eyes to the hidden treasures that create our environment.

To see more from Chandi Kelley visit

Don’t Miss Artist’s Talks with D.B. Stovall and Pamela H. Viola this Thursday, November 7th from 7:00-9:00 PM at Hillyer.

Bringing the Art in DC to You,
Mica Hartman