January 10, 2008

Ken Kelly's impulsively painted grids

"Ken Kelly: Future Perfect," Howard House, Seattle, WA. Through Feb. 23. Ken Kelly's paintings are red, black and white oil and enamel on canvas, and have a slick, shiny surface which belies the heartbreaking nature of the unevenly hand-rendered squares and dashes. If you stopped by the Aqua Hotel during the fairs in Miami, you may have seen three small ones intimately tucked into the far corner of the Howard House installation. According to the press release, Kelly's new work is instigated by impulses instead of relying on premeditated forms. "I have the freedom to do and un-do at a moment's notice,"Kelly says. Reworking his paintings and allowing the compositions to evolve result in little marks which are just as much a part of a pattern as they are a brushstroke. As the patterns shift in scale and orientation across the canvas, Kelly references relationships beyond geometry. The grids interact with one another in a way that resonates with cityscapes, crowds of people, or pixilation -- the kinds of objects that become organized when viewed from a distance or magnified into simple, basic shapes.

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