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Enjoy the Silence in Kelsey Beckett's Intimate Illustrated Portraits

Illustrator Kelsey Beckett’s new ‘Murmuration’ exhibition explores how the natural world can express feelings of solitude and intimacy.
The Collector. Images courtesy of Kelsey Beckett and the Corey Helford Gallery

The serene and wistful portraits in Detroit-based artist Kelsey Beckett’s Murmuration exhibition explore the emotional intricacies that characterize moments of solitude and intimacy. Each one of her female subjects is placed in a unique space with their own respective narrative. The girls are situated in front of particular natural landscapes loaded with tree branches, bodies of water, and birds. These articles of the natural world serve as interpretive indicators or symbolic representations of what is going on in the minds of each character. Beckett uses the ornamentation in her landscapes to speak about her subjects’ inner worlds “as they twist like gnarled branches, softly desaturate with melancholy, or bloom with vanity and education,” writes the Corey Helford Gallery.


Kiss Of Death

In addition to obvious physical attributes like height, skin, and hair color, Beckett’s girls are distinguished by their subtle facial expressions and general awareness of the viewer. Each composition is frozen in action, “paused so that the viewer might see themselves eerily reflecting back to a similar memory,” according to the gallery. The feeling and condition of one painting may resonate strongly with some and fall flat with others. Interpretation is intentionally left up to the viewer with hope that they find catharsis or camaraderie in seeing another isolated body. "A lot of the inspiration for this collection came from watching individuals wage their own private, internal battles,” Beckett tells The Creators Project. “It's impossible to know exactly what someone else is feeling, but I've tried to capture at least a hint of it in this work.”

Another September Alone


Murmuration is on view on at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles from January 21st to February 18th. To learn more about the exhibition, click here. Check out more work by Kelsey Beckett on her website.


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