Artist Kelly Guidry’s latest work shapes a proud and feminine home.
Flanking Carrie Leonard’s massive mantle are two standout pieces of art. Sisters, if you will, created from the bold hands of artist Kelly Guidry. The two pieces are similar — copper, patina-tinged wings, scrolls of paint and an utterly feminine shape — yet they are not identical.
“They’re sisters. Not twins,” Leonard says with a laugh of the pieces she commissioned from the artist she has been collecting for more than 12 years.
The latest pieces on display are at once at home and foreigners in Leonard’s abode. There is a sophisticated air when you step through the front door with cool blue couches and subtle silvery chairs. But the pervasive theme through her eclectic home is art. And these new ladies are evidence of that art-centric attitude toward home design.
“I like to live with art. I like to live in the middle of it,” she says.
Leonard is just the collector, then, for Kelly Guidry. Known often as “the chainsaw guy,” Guidry has an unmistakable style that creates from metal and shapeless blocks of cedar pieces that are a celebration of form.
“It’s the essence of female,” he says of his most recent work. “Very simplistic, primitive, tribal.”
The pieces are strikingly feminine, yet never delicate. They are at once proud and elegant. In Guidry’s words, they project “strength, confidence, health and beauty.” There is something intangible about these pieces. Perhaps it’s because they are clearly a product of a laborious process that is as physical as it must be emotional. The pieces of cedar used in some of Guidry’s most recent work are superbly imperfect with a rich textural surface. These imperfections in the wood, like our own as human beings, are what make us unique, according to Guidry. He crafts the wood into essentially feminine shapes before torching them, leaving a dark facade that is then sanded in some cases, painted in others. And still others remain a rich dark color. Among the pieces in this collection are different sizes — some several feet tall and quite bold and all evidence of a passionate artist.
“I want people to have the same passion and joy for the work that I have,” Guidry says.
For those unaccustomed to Guidry’s art, it can be intimidating to welcome such bold pieces (especially on the grander end of size) into their homes. But, it’s clear when in a home like Leonard’s that there is no certain place for Guidry’s work. Like the artist himself, choosing the unpredictable is perhaps the wisest choice of all.
“People are pleasantly surprised at how it looks. Even without a big space, a nice piece positioned correctly can make the room,” Guidry says.
And two are twice as nice. Just ask Carrie Leonard. — AB