Contemporary Art

Musical Artist K. Flay on Art and Inspiration

By Sotheby's

While in New York City for her concert at the Bowery Ballroom, musical artist K.Flay stopped by Sotheby’s S|2 Gallery to preview Now You See Me, an exhibition of paintings and sculpture by nine of the most original and influential female artists of the 20th century. Works in the exhibition, on view through 5 March, span more than 100 years and explore the aesthetic and ideological kinship of Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Barbara Hepworth, Frida Kahlo, Tamara de Lempicka, Joan Mitchell, Georgia O’Keeffe, Mira Schendel and Tsuruko Yamazaki. Gallery director Nicholas Cinque talked to K. Flay about her relationship with art and where she finds inspiration in her own work.


Now You See Me is an exhibition of works by some of the most influential female artists of the 20th century. Do you have a favorite artwork in the exhibition? 
I think my favorite might be Lynda Benglis’ D’Arrest.  

What draws you to this piece?  
It feels planetary, otherworldly, but also very human. It reminds me of a cell.  

There is a unique dialogue between the different artworks and artists in this exhibition, are there any pairings that you find particularly interesting?   
Well I think a lot of the work is united in its exploration of the body. For me, the pairing of Tamara de Lempicka’s La belle Rafaela en vert and Frida Kahlo’s Self portrait dedicated to Dr. Eloesser is really interesting. On the one hand, you have this imaginative, voluptuous image of a woman by a third person painter; on the other, you have a very stark, hyper realistic self-portrait by a first person painter.


As a musician, are there aspects of the visual arts that you can relate to in your own work?   
I think the greatest similarity is in the way that audiences experience the work. I’ll write a song with a certain feeling or idea in mind, and then come to find that listeners have their own interpretations that are wholly distinct. When you put something out into the world, you sort of release your hold on its meaning – and I think that is particularly true with the visual arts.  

Where do you find your inspiration?  
Around me and within me. I’m still very much engaged in the process of sorting myself out – it’s beginning to feel like a lifelong pursuit. So for me, I’m inspired by the ways I’ve changed, struggled, reached peace, and the ways that those close to me have done the same things too.  

Do you remember the first piece of art that made an impact on you?  
I took an art appreciation class over the summer when I was little, probably 8 years old, and the first piece of art I really remember was a Paul Gauguin painting. The vision of Tahiti, the women, the colors. I was struck by it.  

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