Artist: Kelley Free Pettibone
Exhibition Title: dwell.
Exhibition Dates: March 27 – March 30
Reception Date: March 30, 5:30-7:30 pm, with an artist talk at 6 pm
Kelley Free Pettibone is a South Carolina native. She attended the University of South Carolina from 2018-2020, earning a BFA in Studio Art in Drawing. She returned to the University of South Carolina where she is currently an MFA candidate in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking. Since 2021 she has attended an Assistantship, working as a Graduate Teaching Instructor. She is currently working as an Instructor of Record teaching Introduction to Printmaking. She works between two studios, a studio located at her Columbia home and her Graduate studio located on Catawba Street, in the historical Whaley Street District. She has shown work in McMaster Gallery as well as the Passage Gallery at the School of Visual Art and Design. She has also shown work at Stormwater Studios and most recently had works included in a group exhibition held in the former Starbucks location on Gervais Street during the annual Vista Lights Celebration.
Following a decade of loss, including the deaths of my grandparents and my parents, while attending college and continuing to perform as a wife, mother, and dog Mom, I began noticing a struggle in finding the space in which to grieve, and as a result, my mental and physical health also became a struggle. As an only child, I was left feeling orphaned. As an artist, I turned to my art as a vehicle for grief therapy and to my studio as my sanctuary of grief. My process involves the deconstruction and reconstruction of materials which speaks to discovering how to continue life following the experience of loss. My work is a fusion of repurposed materials and inherited family ephemera; this fusion is a gratuitous nod of acknowledgement of all that remains while simultaneously recognizing all that no longer exists.
We are the sum of all that we allow to dwell within us. When we continue to mourn the experience of loss, we prevent ourselves from living fully present, inadvertently robbing ourselves of our greatest future potential. We must understand and be intentional with all that we permit to dwell within us. Our moments upon the Earth and with one another are fleeting. As grief is a universal affliction, my aim is to share my personal grief journey through a universally visual language.