Kelsey Henderson's Dull the Will

Lichtenberg figures are fractally branching electric discharges that appear on the surface of insulating materials. They frequently appear on the skin of a victim of a lightning strike — a road map of an intensely extreme experience. They can persist for hours or days. Artist Kelsey Henderson’s upcoming solo show, Dull the Will, is a glimpse into the lasting images reflecting the past two years of her life, which she describes as “really bizarre and interesting."

"If someone was reading a book of my life, these would be the chapters that are really fun to read," she tells Milk Made. "It’s been a time of open exploration, for better and for worse.”

Dull the Will is a term that means "to hypnotize." Henderson’s show explores imagery connecting dreams and hallucinations; blink-of-an-eye moments; fetishes intertwined with the mundane; points between anticipation and disappointment; letting go of expectations and accepting what is. A tableau of submitting yourself to being struck by lightening, perhaps, and living to tell the tale.

Milk Made: You’re 31, and you already have an oeuvre that spans a decade. What is your first memory of creating art?

Kelsey Henderson: My mom is an artist, so it was inherent to growing up. I was always drawing, and my mother encouraged it by playing these games where you draw a squiggle or something, and another person elaborates on it, turning the squiggle into something completely different. Painting with oils [her chosen metier] crystallized in my sophomore year of college.

MM: There is a remarkable intimacy and vulnerability in your subjects. How do you find your muses?

KH: I find some online… creepin’… Some are mutual friends, or actual friends, or perhaps more than friends. I just like looking at people.

MM: Where is your favorite place to creep?

KH: The Internet. Instagram is great.

MM: Do you like the way people photograph themselves?

KH: Ha! No, although it’s very telling. Sometimes it can make me like them more. If you post a photo of yourself with a bloody nose, it’s highly probable that I’ll start courting you as a muse.

Henderson describes her last show, Pallid Spell, as a "pale period of time.” Conversely, Dull the Will, which debuts December 15 with local Lo-fi punk act, Raspberry Bulbs, reflects a period that is intensely explorative.

“Now I’m allowing things to look sexual," she says. "Before I was trying not to have my work be about sex. In spite of a lot of my pieces being nudes, I didn’t want to depict the subject in an explicitly sexual way. Now I’m like, ‘Put your fingers in your mouth.’”

Kelsey Henderson: Dull The Will featuring a performance by Raspberry Bulbs opens December 15, 6pm at Envoy Enterprises

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