McKenzie Phelps

McKenzie Phelps

Profile Location
Omaha , NE

McKenzie Phelps is a figurative painter and fiber artist from Omaha, Nebraska. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Through painting and using traditional feminine art forms such as sewing and quilting, her work navigates the relationship between feminine identity and societal expectations of sexuality and beauty placed on women. She aims to challenge and critique the obsessive desire of female perfection and the ultimate hollowness and self-destruction that goes along with trying to inhibit an idealized femininity.

Artist Statement

My work explores personal relationships to femininity and how one can perform and experience it. In my paintings, I utilize self-portraiture and attempt to perform a learned feminine identity. The results are clumsy, garish, and harsh. I aim to capture the obsessive desire of female perfection and the ultimate self-destruction that comes along with trying to alter yourself to fit the societal expectations.

In my recent exploration of patchwork quilting, I use a traditional woman’s art form to explore the relationship between traditional and contemporary conceptions of femininity. Patchwork quilts act as symbols of comfort, safety and nostalgia. They hearken back to an era of the homemaker and remind us of the resourcefulness of women who could make something beautiful and meaningful out of scraps and leftovers. At the same time, quilts evoke an era of outdated and oppressive views towards women. A time when women were confined to the home and cornered in to the world of craft. Expressing my ambivalence, I challenge these feelings and render faceless nudes and parading high heeled legs that are frankly pretty and pornographic at the same time. I use language presented in bold block letters to highlight subtle misogyny common in our everyday conversation. Working in a palette dominated by luscious pinks and greens, I create work that boldly and playfully walks the line between the traditional and contemporary woman. 


Exhibitions Featuring this Artist

McKenzie Phelps
7/6/18 to 7/28/18
McKenzie Phelps
James Bockelman
Owen Buffington
Kim Darling
Tom Kreager
Brad Krieger
Louis LaBudda
Hannah McBroom
Lana Miller
Cathy Patterson
Jose Sierra
Dan Terpstra
5/21/19 to 8/24/19
Multiple Mediums
McKenzie Phelps
Crista Ann Ames
Jen Bockelman
Shannon Brock
Mandy Deal
Belle-Pilar Fleming
Camille Hawbaker
Amy Jarding
Kate Running
Amy Schmierbach
Amanda Smith
Chris Taylor
Wendy Weiss
1/3/20 to 2/28/20
Fiber / Textiles

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