A Garden Plot

David Klein Gallery, 163 Townsend, Birmingham; 248-433-3700, dkgallery.com

Flint-born artist Kelly Reemtsen’s output isn’t subject to simple interpretation. For instance, her 2008 oil, Pink Waterhose (With White Dress), above, looks innocuous enough; a woman appears ready to water her flowers. But look at the way she’s clutching the hose, almost as if it’s a weapon. “Kelly herself has a sense of humor, but there’s a bit of a dark underlining in many of her works,” says Christine Schefman, director of contemporary art at Birmingham’s David Klein Gallery, which will feature a solo exhibition of Reemtsen’s work June 20-July 25. “She’s done a whole series of women in party dresses and charm bracelets who are holding tools. But there’s a hint that something ominous is going on,” Schefman says. “On the one hand, it shows that women are powerful. Even in a dress, she can pick up a bolt cutter and get the job done — or is she going to the woodshed to chop up her husband?”

Reemtsen frequently paints women either cropped at the neck or facing away from the viewer. “It just adds to the mystery,” Schefman says. “When you don’t see the head or face, it’s less personal and more mysterious.”