Kelsey Duncan, Helena, Montana
The people Kelsey Duncan portrays in his figurative sculptures are not often in the spotlight. His recent work focuses on the men and women involved in small-town burlesque culture, and the ways that performance can be empowering. These figures have agency, confidence, control, and a curiosity about the world, which is communicated through their facial expressions and stances.
The sense of clay as a material is maintained through various tool marks on the surface of the figures. These marks, along with the careful layering of both opaque and transparent washes of color to build up depth in the surfaces, simultaneously add to the sense of history and individuality of the person being portrayed.
The life-size figures are not idealized body types, rather they are individuals whose narratives are intriguing, and who challenge us to move beyond stereotypes as we think about the people they represent.