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Mary Reid Kelley

Sadie, The Saddest Sadist

September 1 – October 3, 2009

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, Sadie, The Saddest Sadist, 2009

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley

Sadie, The Saddest Sadist, 2009


7:23 minutes

Edition of 6


Press Release

Mary Reid Kelly

Sadie, the Saddest Sadist

September 1 through October 3, 2009

Frederick’s and Freiser is pleased to announce an exhibition of video by Mary Reid Kelly. This exhibition will include two recent videos, The Queen’s English, and Sadie, the Saddest Sadist, in which the artist combines live-action video with stop motion animation. This will be the artist’s first one-person exhibition in New York.

The era of the Frist World War abounds with poetry and popular verse that records a profound crisis in language and meaning. New technologies that destroyed the bodies of armies and upended longstanding gender roles were matched by new, ‘modern’ art forms expressing this deep fragmentation of body and culture. The upheaval of this time period and its art forms serve as setting and model for Mary Reid Kelly’s work.

Alternating between nurse, sailor and factory worker, her characters speak in the ‘public’ language of rhymed verse, whose form degrades their authority as individuals. Their clarity of meaning is further compromised by the euphemisms, clichés, and puns, which riddle their speech, and trap them between tragic and comic interpretations.

The Queen’s English is a narration of loss: the death of a solider, as observed by a nurse. Confronted with the trauma of war, she defaults to euphemistic, fragmented speech. This concept of fragmentation is visually reinforced by the stop-motion animation of small geometric shapes or ‘units’. Sadie, the Saddest Sadist narrates the travails of a female munitions worker in Britain. The story is ultimately about exchange; Sadie trades her labor for patriotic satisfaction and money in the munitions factory, and then gets into a different type of exchange with Jack, a sailor she meets on the street. In keeping with the themes of exchange and war, the visual and verbal languages of Sadie are systems of shared, public meaning: the cartoon and doggerel poetry

About the Artist:

Mary Reid Kelly graduated with a MFA from Yale in 2009. She has received numerous awards including the Alice Kimball English Travel Fellowship, Yale University and the CAA Visual Arts Fellowship.

Gallery hours are Tuesday thorough Saturday; 10am to 6pm. For more information contact the gallery by telephone at (212) 633-6555 or fax (212) 633-7372 or vist us at our website: