Artwork Description

Robert Kelly – Mimesis XXI

Dimensions: 80 x 64″ finished size / 80 x 64″ unframed
Year: 2005
Medium: oil and mixed media on board

Robert Kelly is a contemporary American artist, best known for his collaged geometric abstractions. Conflating ideas of art and world history, systems theories, and Post-Minimalist abstraction, he works within the formal languages of painting and printmaking. Kelly’s work investigates the idea of doubleness through images that reflect, oppose, or imitate each other, and is influenced by the De Stijl movement, Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, and Modernists like Kurt Schwitters. Born in 1956 in Santa Fe, NM, Kelly received his BA in 1978 from Harvard University in Cambridge. His practice is informed through extensive world travel, where he collects source material for his paintings, collaging and printing them into his works in his New York studio. Kelly’s work can be found among the collections of institutions like the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum in Rutger’s University in New Brunswick, among others.

Much like a stonemason building a wall, my recent work seems to be anchored in a step-by-step process of composing formal puzzles. I have grown fond of the pared-down tools of line, form and color and the bountiful yield of their juxtapositions, without the need of references or symbolic otherness to give them meaning. The tension of exquisite junctions and disjunctions achieved by a process of patient build-up of papered and painted layers and edge-to-edge arrangements, makes for a fine focus of meditative work. Though the work has formal and austere footings the efforts of edit and re-edit seems to create sensual surfaces that expose a history of tactile decisions. My affection for the likes of Hans Arp, Myron Stout, Tony Smith, Brancusi, Calder and Ellsworth Kelly, plus the Bauhaus Gang, coupled with over 20 years of crafting the surfaces I paint on, gives me a small niche in this intimate investigation of form that I can call my own.
Robert Kelly