Seth Kelly at Tops Gallery

by - December 12, 2012

Opening Friday Night 400 South Front Memphis, TN 6-8 PM

  Time slippage, false histories, and logical dead ends are motivating forces in Seth Kelly's studio practice. For his show at Tops these themes are compounded with personal history. Kelly was born in Memphis in 1972 and graduated from Central High School. He is the son of J.D. Kelly, who was a prominent artist and teacher in Memphis from the late 70's until his death in 1988. For the past 20 years Seth has been a practicing artist living in New York City. In Seth's exhibit at Tops the viewer is confronted with sculptural body surrogates, in differing realisms, making this basement space a tableau of the artist's studio.

    Kelly's work often has the look of rather random purposes. The materials change per the needs of individual works, whether the techniques are additive or reductive, building material constructions, or mold making and casting. The forms often reference architectural fragments, classical statuary, geometric abstraction, or mass-produced toys. At base is an interest in creating representational things, from pop culture, from nature, or from personal spaces that act more like an abstracted language. Some important formal commonalities in the work are scale - most of the works are made at a one-to-one body ratio, or more precisely Kelly's body size, and the level of craftsmanship is grounded by one maker, both scale and facture determined by the artist. This is mentioned because issues of authorship, self-effacement and subjectivity factor large in Kelly's work.

    Seth Kelly received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in1995. He has had solo shows at the Cheekwood Museum in Nashville and the Derek Eller Gallery in New York. Seth has participated in group exhibitions at P.S. 1, PPOW, Artist Space, Marianne Boesky Gallery, and Derek Ellery Gallery in New York, Franklin Street Works in Stamford, CT, Ditch Projects in Portland, OR, the Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow, Scotland, and Expodium in Utrecht, Netherlands among others. Seth has staged performances at Tracey Williams LTD, NY, Astrup Fearnley Museum in Oslow, Norway, the Memphis College of Art, and Fitzroy Gallery, NY.

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