Des Kenny Reviews Expanding Spaces by Robert Kelly
10 October 2016 - Our Arty Blogger is back! Des Kenny Reviews 'Expanding Spaces' by Robert Kelly ...
Abstraction has no other purpose but to be of itself, simultaneously distinctive and paradoxical. At times existing outside the tangled realm of words, inexplicably defying the desire of language to categorise it. The elusive quality of non-objective art appeals to many contemporary artists since it accommodates any strategy or theory while remaining ambiguous about any infallible final truth. Robert Kelly’s show in Draiocht of abstract prints and drawings uses a number of elemental signs such as the triangle, square, circle and curved forms to explore the nature of pictorial space whilst indirectly referencing the subliminal space of the imagination.
On folded paper blue squares, green triangles and purple circles are run through the printing press but these rudimentary forms fragment as the paper is unfurled. The tension of this shuddering disruption across the paper surface reaches out to the viewer to reassemble the shapes in their mind. The graphic reality of the print exercises the viewer’s imagination to make connections and restore order to the splintered narrative of the imagery.
In another print presented on a square sheet of paper, circular forms are pulled asunder as the folded paper is restored to its original state. A great area of white paper disrupts the printed image like a crack appearing after the movement of tectonic plates across the earth. One blue circle moves from the printed surface into the compressed subterranean space of the indented white paper as if trying to manipulate the physical order of the composition before it disintegrates. By allowing chance dictate the outcome of the pictorial plane may imply that any measured principle of certainty we have is illusory.
A series of charcoal drawings display a calmer approach compared to the disruptive ideas pursued in the first five prints. These square drawings are folded in a manner which leaves horizontal, vertical and diagonal marks embedded in the paper. This underlying structure creates a scaffold upon which gentle curved marks find placement in an ordered construct. Mirrored images are formed when the paper is folded and put through the printing press creating symmetrical shapes that are balanced. The artist counters this informed symmetry created during the printing process by working over the paper with marks made in pastel that float above the uniform design. These intuitive marks made without the use of a printing press depend wholly upon the reflective touch of the artist hand and integrates the makers artistic personality more richly into the process.
The work called Entropy is made of sixteen prints on grey buff paper which combine to create a large square format where curved forms dance like musical notation. The repeated arabesques vary slightly on each page as if in a state of flux but moving towards dissolution. In The Wind of Change the notional marks are more strident and the diagonal creases lift the prints away from the wall. A symbolic turbulence ripples across the surface of the prints, where a reckoning wind will transform everything.
A large installation piece hangs from the ceiling, undulating like the serpentine form of a Chinese dragon. Seeming to catch the light and movement of the scurrying white clouds reflected in the large windows. Imprisoned, it yearns to take flight from the restraints of the gallery and let the tilting wind lift it up on silvery clouds. In folded sculpture square sheets of creased paper race upwards from the floor towards a vanishing point upon the gallery’s highest wall. A vertiginous sense of speed is felt as the square sheets reduce in size the higher the sculpture climbs up the stark white wall.
Robert Kelly is a restless printmaker who uses non-traditional printmaking techniques to excavate the hidden riches inherent in the medium.
Read more about Robert's show ... here ...
Desmond Kenny is an artist based in Hartstown, Dublin 15. He is a self taught painter, since he began making art in 1986 he has since exhibited widely in Ireland and abroad, solo shows include Draíocht in 2001, The Lab in 2006 and Pallas Contemporary Projects in 2008. His work is included in many collections including the Office of Public Works, SIPTU, and Fingal County Council. Kenny's practice also incorporates print making and he has been a member of Graphic Studio Dublin since 2004.