athy Kelley (CV) is a doctoral student in Fine Art: Critical Studies and Artist Practices at Texas Tech University and is a practicing artist. She is involved with interdisciplinary research exploring the possible functions of the writing practices of visual artists who are prolific in art production, recognized in the art world as seminal and sustain their art making practice throughout their lifespan. Academically she is a recipient of the Helen DeVitt Jones Art Artistic Merit VPA Scholarship, CH Foundation Graduate Fellowship, TTU VPA Designated Scholarship, and a TTU Presidential Doctoral Exemption. Kelley’s research interests arose from within her own art practice, involvement in the Houston art community, and her instrumental role in developing and implementing a contemporary art foundation program, WASH [Workshop in Art Studio + History], at Sam Houston State University. She has been selected and participated in several Integrative Teaching International ThinkTanks on contemporary pedagogical practices in collegiate art foundation programs.
Kelley is the founding president of BOX 13 ArtSpace, a non-profit experimental exhibition and studio space in Houston, Texas. Highlights of her solo exhibition record includes Women and Their Work (Austin), Lawndale Art Center (Houston), Houston Art League, G Gallery (Houston), Darke Gallery (Houston), Louise Hopkins Underwood Art Center (Lubbock) and other venues. Her work has also been exhibited in Mexico, Peru and Spain. Kelley has also received grants from Houston Arts Alliance and Buffalo Bayou Art Park, as well as full fellowships for artist residencies at I-Park (Connecticut), Vermont Studio Centers (Vermont) and Darke Gallery (Houston).
“Being in the same space with Kathy Kelley’s art is like a visit to the elephant house: one marvels at the enormity, the textures, and the smell. Her work is excessive. In the five years she has been working as a sculptor, she has produced a shocking bulk of enormous pieces. Too big to lift, too dirty to handle, too ephemeral to keep, the exterior yard of her studio in Houston is fringed with hulking mounds of slowly degenerating rubber. What’s impressive about Kelley’s work is her frightening intensity of effort.
Kelley’s tire works have an appalling sensuality, with skins bound, squeezed and pierced by rusty baling wire. Deflated and flabby, Kelley’s tubular forms are sagging corseted breasts and flaccid, elephantine phalluses, withered by age, and black with sin. From the slimy toxicity of tiny invertebrates to the scabrous callosities of the rhinoceros, Kelley’s galumphing creations suggest the unpleasant side of living creation.”
“Nothing screams ‘Home Sweet Home’ in Kelley’s aesthetic – perhaps theatrical? – vocabulary like `As the Ache.’ …
But Kelley’s home is not to be feared. Stitched and nailed and stapled together from whatever our over-consuming industrial culture has left behind, this home sweet home reads as an allegory to a new more truthful kind of personal homemaking – one that eschews the expectations of others.
From unappealing detritus, Kelley fashions a stage for a much more gnarly but ultimately more truthful kind of existence.”
“Kelley makes tough, forbidding-looking assemblages with baling wire and remnants of tire tubes, doorframes, mattresses and other castoffs, but pairs them with poetic titles shot through with pain and vulnerability…
As in the past, Kelley’s process-oriented sculptures are ripe with bodily references. The pieces extend our sensory capacities and furthering both our connectedness to and alienation from the world…”
A comparative plug about a show Kathy was not in.
A better solution would have been to include the city’s painters and sculptors, many of whom talk about being inspired by the weird juxtapositions the city’s lack of zoning creates. Hana Hillerova’s sleek, geometric sculptures and Howard Sherman’s expressionist, bombastic canvases in dialogue with Jonathan Leach’s crisp, architectural paintings. Throw in some of Kathy Kelley’s wild-eyed assemblages of tires, rebar and other detritus, and you’d get a mix that says “no zoning” better than No Zoning does.”
“Kathryn Kelly is one of the most interesting artists in Houston…
I won’t say i am drowning in the silent stillness of unwritten posts is beautiful, but it is compelling. I have to look at it–it really dominates the room. (An amazing achievement considering that the room is full of very interesting artworks.) And at the risk of sounding like Charles Kinbote, the title of this piece describes something I personally experience on a regular basis…
Indeed, if I had to describe this work, I would think of words like “industrial,” “junk,” “heavy,” even “masculine.” I would think of artists like Keinholz, Richard Serra, Robert Morris, Joseph Bueys.”
“Kathryn, you may win most gracious artist award! Thank you for being such a pleasure to work with, both as an artist and host at BOX 13.
And most importantly, thank you for the stunning installation. I was so glad to see it got some specific press; deserves even more.”
“Kathryn Kelley has a fabulous installation in a narrow side gallery, left over from her recent show. Her trademark black rubber inner tubes are clustered over the ceiling, dangling down like flaccid stalactites, filling the space and overwhelming the viewer with the smell of rubber.”
“I’m surprised by the call for forgiveness, but the “stuck” aspect comes at you as both straightforward and arresting; we’re looking at rubber, wood — an aftermath of something ripped asunder. My mind went immediately to post-terrorist sites and other monstrous un-buildings. But Kelley’s assertion of personal narrative, of Kelley/the narrator mired in these drooping outsize hoses and wooden remnants, makes for an explosively potent disaster area of the heart. I find I don’t need to know “what happened between us,” but can reflect on all the battlefields we all live in, still hoping for release, still depending on the actions of an Other who may or may not be amenable, or alive, or comprehending.”