Ryan W. Kelly
A Forest for the Trees
January 2- February 15, 2020
First Thursday Art Walks:
January 9th (Make-Up Date)
Wednesday January 29th, 6-8pm
(talk starts at approximately 6:30pm)
Friday & Saturday, 12-5pm,
First Thursday Art Walks: 5-8pm
and by appointment. firstname.lastname@example.org
Taken broadly, my work or perhaps my subject matter, follows two different paths. In one mode, I research and follow tangents and stories down into history or literature, and come out inhabiting a character, either real or fictional that can help me illustrate something of myself. The other path, the one that this body of work has taken, is to follow my half-cocked dream logic. I forgo strict research and allow myself the freedom of associative play. Each way of working feeds the other.
Everything I’ve made for this show has an intentional artificiality to it. Puppets and masks, things made by hand, things you might interact with or activate by hand. They are not the things themselves, they are hollow tools for manipulation. They are the props in a dream play.
There is a fisted forest of phallic food on sticks. Or are these some vernacular fairground advertisement?
There is a strange congress of over-sized heads, staring back at you, waiting their turn.
There is the crocodile pulled from a Punch and Judy play, forever chasing Punch’s tantalizing sausages.
At the center is the over-sized self-portrait as hand puppet, raising his clenched fists either in excitement or possibly rage?
This is not an elegant metaphor. This is not an Ode to a Grecian Urn. This is my ham-fisted dream interpretation.
Ryan W. Kelly holds a BFA in Ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from The Ohio State University. His work ranges from performance and video to object-based installations. He draws inspiration from American mythology, historical inaccuracies and the curious story telling that finds its way into our material culture and decorative arts. He celebrates the myopic strangeness often preserved in our souvenirs, monuments and commemorations.
Currently Kelly is an Assistant Professor of Ceramics and Foundations at Western Washington University. Previously he was a Visiting Professor at The Ohio State University in Ceramics and Foundations. Prior to that he lived and worked in Philadelphia, where he was a resident artist at The Clay Studio; a recipient of an Independence Foundation Fellowship, and a co-curator at Practice Gallery. His collaborations in dance and theater include credits in the Green Porno series by Isabella Rossellini.