I produce work based on the inefficiency of memory’s ability to maintain narrative. Developing formal sensory triggers that precipitate nostalgic responses, this body of work hopes to engage narrative participation from the viewer. These formally ambiguous objects, which act as surrogates for lost entities in my personal experience, become tactile markers for memories which have broken down over time. These scenes are averaged time over time and gaps are filled to create clarity. Continually accessing these memories breaks down our ability to accurately store their information. I am interested in this type of systematic failure, a beautiful disaster of sentimentality. Keeping my objects formally ambiguous allows the viewer to engage on their own terms, and apply their own narrative. I think about my work as nostalgically being similar to songs in the way music becomes a place holder for moments in our personal histories. Different points in my personal narrative generate specific images to which I can attribute a sonic reference. These objects now occupy a physical space protecting them from the ephemerality of memory.
Kelly's work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States and throughout Europe. His work has been the subject of multiple solo and group exhibitions, most notably in the survey of abstract painting "The Painted World" at PS1 MoMA. In 2019 Kelly was named as the inaugural artist in residence at the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics. A full professor in Visual Arts at Mercer County Community College, Kelly holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and a MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts. He is a member of the Tiger Strikes Asteroid network of artists, and his studio is in Philadelphia.
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