My work is a visual reaction to our absurd inability to relate to each other simply as human beings.  We inherently register race, sex, age and ethnicity before we delve beneath the surface to the core of who someone IS.

By working with encaustic I am able to build many layers, just as there are many layers to every one of us.  As you move closer and look deep you are able to see the whole picture, just as you must get to know someone on the inside to truly know who they are.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaking in front of my work!

Chicago Tribune Article

Kelly Mathews is an artist from Chicago, IL.  She was born in small town Iowa where she pursued two things, art and Arabian horses.  After receiving her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, Kelly spent the next 22 years professionally training and showing Arabian horses.  Her students have won numerous top National honors in the United States and Canada.  Retiring in 2014 from professional riding, Kelly has returned full time to her art.  Primarily using encaustic and photography, her work deals with social and political issues.

There is Shame in Silence
Photo by melwiner.net


1992       BFA, Kansas City Art Institute

Solo Exhibitions

2017       The New Studio,  November 10th – December 31st

Juried Exhibitions


All Politics are Local, Jackson Junge Gallery, Chicago, IL


FEATURED ARTIST – Project RESIST FEAR, Art Center Highland Park

Political Statements, Chimera Loft, Evanston, IL

Artprize 2018, Corridor Coffee, Grand Rapids, MI

Pride and Prejudice, ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL

Insights II,  Zolla/Lieberman Gallery,  Chicago, IL

Resist/Embrace, KYO Gallery,  Alexandria, VA

Journey to America, Highland Park Art Center, Highland                            Park,IL    Juror Montserrat Alsina


Beneath the Surface, Highland Park Art Center, Highland                        Park, IL. Curated by Caren Helene Rudman

Sketchbooks,  33 Contemporary Gallery,  ZouB Art Center,                      Chicago, IL

Expo Chicago Week,  Mars Gallery,  Chicago, IL

Political Ramifications, Hairpin Art Center, Chicago, IL.                                Curated by Gretchen Henninger

2016       160 Degrees, Gallery 2506, Chicago, IL. Curated by                                       Kathleen Burnett

2015       4th Annual Encaustic Exhibition, Morpho Gallery, Chicago,                       IL. Curated by David Leigh

1993       Iowa Artists, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA.                                   Curated by Deborah Levinton

1992       Screening – That Month before Fall, Kansas City Film                                   Festival, Kansas City, MO

Screening – Separation of Thoughts, Sony International Film                  Festival, San Francisco, New York, Tokyo.

Group Exhibitions


Humanity Rising II, ARC Gallery, Chicago, IL

In View, Art Center of Highland Park, Highland Park, IL 


Naked Truth, Old Courthouse, Woodstock, IL

Project – RESIST FEAR,  33 Contemporary Gallery,                                         Chicago, IL


Undefinable: Woman’s Health in America, Evanston Art                              Center, Evanston, IL

Visions, Open Center for the Arts,  Chicago, IL


Connect, University of Chicago, Hyde Park, IL

Perfecting Your Craft, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce,                    Chicago, IL

Various Private Collections







Kelly Mathews