Nikki Kelsay

“My work is an exploration of queer identities, and female-presenting bodies and their relationships to culture and audience. My oil paintings challenge the fetishization of queer women and women-loving woman (wlw) relationships that has informed the understandings and expectations in our society. I investigate the relationships, intersections, and tensions between current practices of Christianity and sexuality. I observe how religion influences social norms, including the male gaze and how misogyny is perpetrated through certain Christian ideals.” – Nikki Kelsay

Nikki Kelsay (she/they) is a visual artist from Wheaton, Illinois where she now resides. She received her BFA in Art Education from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in 2020. Since graduation, Kelsay has turned her childhood bedroom into a studio as she prepares to apply to graduate school. She is currently working as a farmhand at Rustic Road Farm in Elburn, Illinois and creating work in her studio. She is compelled to make work that meditates on her Catholic upbringing and experiences as a queer woman. Kelsay eventually plans to receive her MFA in Painting and become a professor. 

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