Exhibition “JOHN KELLY: IRISH LANDSCAPES”
Organized by Spark Assoc. Art Management in association with O’Sullivan Antiques New York
On View from September 16 through October 15, 2015, NYC
Spark Assoc. Art Management and O’Sullivan Antiques are pleased to present a joint exhibition of works by internationally renowned Australian-Irish artist John Kelly (b. 1965).
A sculptor of international fame, whose monumental bronzes are represented by Sotheby's in Australia, John Kelly’s artistic practice encompasses paintings and printmaking. The son of an Irish father and English mother, Kelly was born in Bristol, UK. His family immigrated to Australia when he was six months old, and he grew up there before relocating to Reen in West Cork, Ireland, in the early 2000's. He maintains passports for all three countries. These differing cultures have shaped Kelly's cultural identity and artistic production, while the history and the magnificent landscapes of West Cork proved to be of much inspiration for his recent body of work.
This exhibition brings together select pieces from Kelly's recent Irish landscape paintings (2013-2014), the first major body of work he painted en plein air. Sketching and painting on his field easel propped atop a stone tomb, a spot that gave him an open view of the High and Low islands, Kelly captured the austere and ruggedly beautiful coastline of the islands and the two harbors of Castlehaven and Blind, set against the ever-changing West Cork sky. Kelly's compositions are simple yet observant, the views ancient but fresh.
A group of paintings depicting mounds, sticks, and stones silently speak of Kelly's search into the less-than-adequately visualized history of the land during an Gorta Mór (The Great Hunger) that struck the Irish population hard between 1845-1850. Since settling down in Cork, Ireland, Kelly has taken deep interest in the local history during the years of the Famine and the socio-economic dynamics that resulted in a peculiar lack of visual representations of the tragedy in Irish and British fine art. This interest had led him to a number of important sculptural commissions and participations in international bienniels, it is thus natural to see the topic re-emerge in his paintings of the land.
Since producing this milestone series, Kelly has been taking his plein air painting even further––both literally and figuratively. In 2014, Kelly participated in a residency in Antarctica during which he painted the sublimely beautiful pictures of the frigid landscape. Fifty seven Antarctic landscape paintings from this endeavor are on view in a solo exhibition at the TMAG (Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery) from June through September 2015. In 2016, Kelly is invited to attend a residency in Nevada, United States, where he plans to capture the burning, dry landscape on his canvas.
Presented alongside Kelly’s paintings, echoing the historical inspiration, are notable Irish antiques from O’Sullivan Antiques’ collection, including a Regency mahogany sideboard from County Cork, Ireland, and a magnificent Georgian bureau bookcase from Newport House, Ireland.
Spark Associates Art Management | www.sparkplusart.com
200 Park Avenue, Suite 1700, NY, NY 10166
Spark Associates is an art management agency and international artist liaison based in New York City.
O'Sullivan Antiques | www.osullivanantiques.com
51 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003
O’Sullivan Antiques is a renowned dealer of important English and Irish antiques and decorative art, in particular fine Georgian and Regency period furniture, with show rooms in Dublin and New York. O’Sullivan Antiques is a member of the Irish Antiques Dealers Associates, CINOA, and The Art and Antique Dealers League of America.