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Unknowable Death

© Copyright Alessandra Kelley

In the center, a small photograph, starkly colored and a little faded, of the side porch of a grand brick house with steep, dizzying perspective, in the foreground a small boy with his back to us, staring at the huddled form within the porch, his boots extending beyond the photograph into a large painting of a claustrophobic city, its rising forms of modern skyscraper design closing in the plaza-like space the child may or may not be standing in.

"Unknowable Death" was commissioned to be the cover of a magic realism mystery novel.

In the story a child discovers a relative murdered in the vestibule of his home and retreats into a fantasy world of allegorical city architecture. It is unclear in the book whether the child has gone mad or is actually wandering through other worlds.

The photographs are my own work. My son was the model. The painting is egg tempera on panel, carefully matching the perspective of the photograph. I find I really enjoy the geometries of playing with perspective and illusionistic spaces.

The buildings are heavily influenced by modernist Chicago buildings with a nod to the 1970s brutalism of New York City public spaces.