…One of the best things I saw at CSAW was these huge, smelly heffalumps made from old inner tubes by Kathy Kelley. Sure, it’s a little retro, like a S&M Lee Bontecou, but their enormous flab and powerful grunge are not to be denied. Kelley’s worth watching.

For Whom the Bell Crawls
Houston Artletter by Bill Davenport, 11/2007
Glasstire Blog

Yeah-Hah! I was pretty thrilled to see the above on the glasstire.com blog. I figure I better enjoy it while I can, cause I could always get spanked next time. I found it perceptive that Davenport so quickly and concisely summed up what I am doing well and what I am struggling with all from a positive slant. I am definitely struggling with the retro post-minimalist thing. That mode of working is less a nod to post-minimalism (though my hat is definitely off to Eva Hesse, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois as well as Donald Judd, Richard Serra, Robert Morris) and more of an innate way of making (a visceral gnawing) and material choice. So I am trying to explore ways of entering into 2007 (just haven’t found it yet) via my making/materials.

Thanks Bill.

*if you’re not sure what heffalumps are, reread winnie the pooh.

And then I got spanked.

In regards to titus o’brien’s comments

LIKE Lee Bontecou?
written by titus_obrien on November 20, 2007

I saw Bontecou’s retrospective (a few times) a couple years back, and have long been a fan. Kelley’s sculptures go beyond owing debt, to pure imitation.

“pure imitation” is pure conjecture based on obrien’s view point. Unless, he’s been crawling around in my head or observed the process from which the work was derived, then he can neither comment on the intent or act from which the work was derived. However he may surely speak to similarities, differences or make judgments of the work itself.

i do not discredit him for taking a stand. any good writer or critic must make a stand if he wants someone to listen. i simply stand against the statement that my work is imitation.

i am definitely influenced by art history, but i am influenced even more so by my materials in conjunction with my current thinking, with the addition of book research and collaborative critique with fellow artists. this series of works sprung out of the idea of continuous consumption…the stunting of growth via unending wanting….the never ending suckling of consumer goods without fulfillment…some of melanie klein’s object relations theory on personality development, envy and gratitude or lack thereof, her referencing of the experience of breast feeding being determinant in much about who a person becomes, along with the remnant inner tubes that already screamed radial and a semi-recent (feminine?) inclination to sew all led up to suckling is continuous but no longer functional series of explorations. half way through sewing nipples for the first black painting, references to lee bontecou became quite evident. from there i began to push away from the inadvertent references to bontecou and started relying on the materials themselves to guide me in the making.



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1 Response

  1. Imitation? Hardly. All work is derative. It’s created in a context and your work definitely exhibits some similarities with Bontecou, but I would not call it pure imitation. O’brien seems to have fixated on the seems and the holes, which are similar but the material, the flexibility and amorphorous nature of the inner tubes give your works a much more organic feel. I see nipples. I see breasts. I sense suckling. I would not apply any of these descriptions to Bontecou’s work. I’d describe the difference in the experience between your sucklinig series and Bontecou’s as similar to the difference between wearing medieval armor (B) and a suit of latex (you). Rigid and bold is good but give me some warm, skin tight latex anytime.