Celeste Dupuy-Spencer moves between styles, gestures and a history of painting to interrogate the American experience as seen in her religious scenes, portraits and landscapes. Through seemingly fast brushwork and a montage of visual language, Celeste imbues each painting with a sense of existential grappling—figures and scenes are at once terror-filled yet full of tenderness. Community and more broadly, society, in all its contradictions, repression, but also hope and love, often plays a central role in Celeste’s paintings—figures coalesce in domestic spaces, churches and on neighborhood streets. In an almost therapeutic way, Celeste captures these deeply layered, microcosmic narratives that speak to the ever-evolving nature of America.
Celeste grew up in rural upstate New York and briefly relocated to New Orleans before settling in Los Angeles. These geographic spaces and distances become tantamount to her depiction of friends, family, lovers and colleagues. In the personalized vision of Celeste’s paintings, each character is teeming with specificity in personality and so many endearing qualities. While often using photographs as a starting point, her paintings are many times tainted and informed by the fallibility of memory and underlying emotions. Celeste’s epic paintings contain enormous depth and life where subtle moments are transformed into compelling statements on race, religion and privilege.
Celeste Dupuy-Spencer (b. 1979 New York, NY) received a BFA from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include But the Clouds Never Hung So Low, Max Hetzler Gallery, Germany (2020), The Chiefest of Ten Thousand at Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles (2018); Wild and Blue at Marlborough Contemporary, New York (2017), and (mostly) works on paper at Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles (2015). Group exhibitions include This is America, Kunstahal Kade, Amersfoort, (2020), All Them Witches at Deitch Projects, Los Angeles (2020); Made in L.A. at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); TEN at Artist Curated Projects, Los Angeles (2018); The Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum, New York (2017) and Tomorrow Never Happens, The Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University, PA (2016). Dupuy-Spencer lives and works in Los Angeles.