Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kathryn Kelley's Anxiety

Robert Boyd

Kathryn Kelley is one of the most interesting artists in Houston, and is about to have an opening at College of the Mainland, which is unfortunate. I mean, it's good that she is having an solo show, and more power to the College of the Mainland for hosting it. But like almost all community college galleries in Houston, College of the Mainland's gallery is not open during hours that are accessible to working people (you can see art from Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 4 pm). And the opening for this show is at 2 pm on Tuesday, September 4. This is an old complaint of mine, and I'm sorry to bother you again with it.

The reason I am griping about it is simple--I wish I could see this show. It seems crazy that a great show in the Houston area is completely inaccessible to anyone with an 8-5, Monday-to-Friday job. Fortunately, Kelley has been putting up a series of excellent illustrated blog posts about getting ready for the show. They're no substitute for the real thing, they give one a flavor of the work and her process.

Now that the show, i dissolve my fabricated seatings, is hung, Kellwy is suffering the anxiety of influence and wondering if anything she does is original. And she isn't trying to hide her anxiety, as you can see in these photos from her blog.


This post is excellent because it takes her through her stream-of-consciousness personal artistic history:
Elements of Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Post-Minimalism, Bad Painting, First Generation Feminism had been absorbed. Greenburg, Rauschenberg, Bourgeois, Serra and EVA HESSE assimilated. Ideas of the serial, field painting, experimentation with industrial materials, found objects, and a black and white painting series had been planted within me. But more importantly I found passion. And I liked it.
But then a week ago, the subject was about which was resisting more, her body or her mind, as she struggled to get the work completed. But she included some photographic (self?) portraits, looking extremely grungey in poses of languid, exhausted relaxation.


Kathryn Kelley in repose

And damn if they aren't sexy. All you folks out there who use expensive cosmetics, dress in tight designer clothes, get spa treatments and botox, maybe you are going about it the wrong way. Assembling and hauling enormous rubber sculptures for 10 hours or so seems to work for Kelley.

Now I will be at work every single hour this show is up (through the 27th of this month). But if you're reading this and your schedule allows, go to the College of the Mainland's gallery and check it out. And tell me how it was.


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