Keri Oldham’s Watercolor Paintings Show Women Slaying Their Demons

By
Photo: Keri Oldham

Keri Oldham, a Brooklyn-based painter originally from Dallas, Texas, puts the triumphs and trials of being a woman throughout history into her works.

The watercolor-and-graphite paintings, which are on display in a show called “BLOOD BANNER” at Lazy Susan Gallery until July 30, incorporate elements of mythology, fantasy, and a slight twinge of terror to tell stories of women matching wits with their fears, real and imagined. Oldham paints her female characters in confronting stances — “power poses,” if you will — almost always post-battle, showing their dominance over the demons that haunt them. With an emphasis on rich colors and the inclusion of interesting fashions and wallpaper, Oldham’s paintings feel simultaneously mythical and modern.

Oldham’s favorite painting of the series is Yellow Wallpaper, which she tells the Cut is based on a short story published in 1892 “that chronicles the progressive insanity of a bed-bound woman forced into a sensory deprivation ‘rest therapy’ — an antiquated treatment often used with women diagnosed with ‘hysteria’ or depression.” She writes: “To allude to this story, I started incorporating wallpaper designs into my work but with women in victorious and bloodied poses — slaying their demons both inside and out.”