About Anthony Kelly
Anthony Kelly was born in Dublin, Ireland, and studied at Dún Laoghaire College of Art and Design (now IADT), graduating with a Distinction in Fine Art. He works in a variety of media that include painting, printmaking, sound, video and performance. Although diverse in construction, his work chiefly concentrates on the shifting and fragmentary nature of sensory experience. To explore this he uses the discarded or overlooked aspects of the world around us, which he enlarges and amplifies to create his work. Kelly's raw material is often the mundane or the discarded, fragments of old photocopies or the background noise on a field recording. Like much contemporary artwork there is no 'hierarchy to hierarchy' in his choice of medium and he sees no difference in relevance between more traditional artforms and more recent lens-based or electronic media. Often his paintings and prints are informed by the results of a film or sound experiment. Likewise the textures of paint or intaglio can inform the quality of the image in a film or video piece. The process of making his paintings explores the use of all surfaces, using varying types of paint finish; for example: matte to absorb light, shiny to reflect it.
While often using found elements to begin with, Kelly also encourages chance and accident to inform the making of his work right up to completion. In this way paint-spills in a painting or tape-hiss on a soundwork can become crucial parts of the finished piece. Often the layering of these 'mistakes' becomes the very fabric of the work itself. In finding these chance happenings Kelly's work is very much to do with a search for the unplanned or unexpected result. Belief and seeing can be different things and it is this dissatisfaction with the obvious in both the intellectual and the sensory that informs much of Kelly's work. The search for the unforeseen or unintended is a way of getting beyond standard intellectual problem-solving in order to see more clearly a beauty that can not always be grasped.
Since graduating, Kelly has exhibited regularly, both at home and abroad. He has also collaborated with other artists on a number of occasions, allowing the development of ideas that might not have come about otherwise. These collaborations show an openness that characterises his approach to making work - he is an artist always looking for new ways to explore his ideas about the world. In 2004 Kelly, along with the German artist and composer David Stalling, set up Farpoint Recordings, an online record label, as an outlet for some of the sound-related projects that had been part of his work for a number of years. The artists have maintained an ongoing collaboration since 2003. The label has also become a platform for other collaborations and independent releases by a number of national & international artists (the Quiet Club, Stephen Vitiello, Strange Attractor, Fergus Kelly and Linda O'Keeffe amongst others) as well as Kelly and Stalling's own work. As mentioned above, his sound-art is not dislocated from his visual output but is complemented by and joined to photographic and video projects.
Painting forms an important platform for much of Kelly's practice, often serving as a primary catalyst for ideas. It is often in his painting and drawing that Kelly can best explore and exploit, in a particularly immediate way, the unprecedented and the unexpected. The materials he uses are often of the household variety: mdf, gloss paint, emulsion paint - their very mundaneness allowing him a simple and uncomplicated basis for experimentation. The results of his current show, The Soft Wave, at the Drawing Project, Dún Laoghaire, are very much an example of this approach.
Kelly's work is represented in many corporate and private collections. Some of his recent projects and exhibitions include A Sound Map Of Dún Laoghaire, Strange Attractor at the Crawford Gallery, Cork; The Presence of Trees, The Return, Goethe-Institut, Dublin; More Practical Dreaming at the Paul Kane Gallery, Dublin; New Traditions at the Stone Gallery, Dublin; Practical Dreaming at the Courtyard Arts Centre, Bristol; Directions at the Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise; and Two Places simultaneously at the Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast, and Limerick City University.
Anthony Kelly lives and works in Dún Laoghaire, County Dublin, Ireland.