Closed for Installation. 2023 Senior Art Exhibition opens April 14, 2023.

  • Katie MacNelly '98
  • Ed
  • 2019
  • Oil on canvas
  • 18 x 21.625 inches
  • Courtesy of the artist

Katie MacNelly graduated from Hendrix College in 1998, with a Studio Art major and a World Religions minor. During her undergraduate years, she explored a variety of artistic mediums with Professor Don Marr, including painting, ceramics, pottery, and life drawing. She appreciated the opportunity to explore a variety of artistic interests, rather than having to limit herself to a singular art form. She also loved having a small, tightly knit cohort that was supportive, rather than competitive.

After graduating from Hendrix, MacNelly attended graduate school at the University of Virginia, where she earned a Master of Arts degree in Architecture in 2002. She then moved to New York to join Gerner, Kronick + Valcarcel Architects, working on the design and construction of several new high-rise residential buildings in New York City. She then moved to Richmond, Virginia and founded ARCHITECTUREFIRM in 2009 with her husband, Danny MacNelly. She continues to lead the business as a Managing Partner.

In addition to this work, MacNelly continues to paint. Her primarily artistic interest is portraiture, but of the body rather than the face. She explores the ability to identify someone solely by their bodily carriage and hopes to capture movement and mannerisms within two-dimensional space. By focusing on the composition’s foreground and giving its background an abstract quality, she established the central figure’s prominence and imbues it with a floating quality. MacNelly uses a layering process to develop color, overlaying bright colors with muted ones, while still allowing the vibrant hues to show through.

Ed depicts MacNelly’s youngest son in the foreground, with her husband’s outstretched legs in the background. She found particular inspiration in the way their legs push out into the sand, creating tension and allowing the presence of strong lines. Her paintings often depict family members, as the process of painting them is an act of memory and meditation; observing and rendering the people she loves allows her to feel a closer connection to them.