The Soft Place by Kellie Lehr

My work is an amalgamation of real and imagined images. I’m interested in creating sensations of movement and visual rhythm that feel caught in states of either becoming or dissolving.
My source material often comes from the natural landscape, and I use it as a jumping-off point. I combine this with an ongoing questioning of the impact of technology and underlying psychological states. Surprisingly, I’ve noticed my work has become brighter and more whimsical as the world has become darker and more dystopian.

Edges play an essential role – both soft and dissolving, as well as hard and abrupt; the place where one thing ends, and another begins; the soft place to fall and the wakeup call. Forms, as well as negative space, often become structures with patterns to be explored and questioned. The result of my process is an image that usually lies somewhere between reality and fantasy, digital and natural, and confusion and clarity.

Painting by Kellie Lehr

Unavoidable Mistakes by Kellie Lehr

The Split by Kellie Lehr

Painting by Kellie Lehr

Kellie Lehr is an artist living in Fayetteville, AR. Lehr holds a B.S. in International Economics and spent 2013–2018 studying in the Drawing and Painting program at the University of Arkansas. In 2019, she was selected for Art File by The Painting Center in New York and the 2019-2020 National Museum of Women in the Arts juried registry by it’s Arkansas committee. Recent exhibitions include 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville, AR and the 59th Annual Delta Exhibition at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Tapped at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnatti and New Optics at The Painting Center in NYC. Her work is in private collections throughout Arkansas, California, Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, New Jersey and New York.
Lehr is the Gallery Director for 211 South (formerly The Gallery at Midtown), a contemporary art gallery located within Engel & Volkers NWA at 211 South Main St. in Bentonville, AR.

The Catch up Recipe Poem

(Note: Make sure you catch the sun before it catches you.)


– 1⁄2 a cup of a cubic space that turns you into a geometric shape.

– 2 teaspoons of summer heat waves (or the state of being in middle)

– 1⁄2 a teaspoon of champion friends.

– 1 cup of creative effort.

– 2 teaspoons of a neuron formation, reminiscent of a colony of ants.


Leave the oven on until you think it’s hot enough.
Do not use the heat waves in this process.
Inside a bowl, mix 1 cup of creative effort
With 2 teaspoons of neuron formation.

Do not let it rest.

Using your hands, mix the 1⁄2 cup of cubic space
With 2 summer heat waves. Keep mixing until
It becomes rough. Combine the now liquid
Like creative-neuron with the the rough dough.

When it looks like it has gone wrong, stop.

Now put the dough inside the oven.
It should be a battle of heat rays.
It will be over when the dough
Shrinks, and before it is gone
It will make a small sound that goes:

don’t. forget. to. cook. don’t. forget. to. cook. don’t. forget. to. cook.



Artwork by Emiliano di Cavalcanti, “Samba”

The Poet

Hello friends welcome to my poetry book
I write in lace and blood-stained panties
A free-bleeder with words and unrestrained lube-coated fingers
I have pride about my infertile uterus and unabashed shoulders
I have legs spread for all to revere

What even is a female poet but a
Skinny thought wrestler who plays with contexts or perhaps
An uninhabited life jacket suggesting trauma?
Even walking becomes quite pretentious so
I won’t even begin to talk about what comes of
My audiences

When did uncooked spaghetti become so metaphorically phallic
I want to boil them soft and
Stir the pot with my hands
You can laugh your cream puff laughter or joke about the lack of cutlery
But who’s wearing the chef’s hat here?

They say I ask real questions but
To be honest I am just an expert heifer who
Regurgitates really neatly into anglophone categories
Perfect finger food squares to be served alongside cheap wine
Zoom out your lenses and you will find my pen
As mass-produced as any other

Here, like this:
Welcome to my Asian supermarket!
Here we evoke nostalgia of diasporic peoples in suburban London and
Make cultural variations and politics palatable to the general audience
Assertive enough to inspire keyboard solidarity but
Never radical enough to spark
A Real Revolution

So I still run away to Europe during summers and
Cook pre-cut boneless chicken filets in Airbnb’s with
Overpriced soy sauce
Distance cultivates appetite and I become
A ready voyeur at touchdown
Even before the wheels come to a halt I had already
Taken pictures of dusty streets

But if Rupi can rake in the money with line breaks and
Taylor’s feminism can inspire naïve joy
Maybe I still qualify as underground music
So listen. When the curtains are drawn, remember
I am a spectacle and all of you losers are
Invited to the show

Artwork by Valerie Belin “Black Eyed Susan II” 2013