Monday, November 16, 2009
Currently showing at Gagosian Gallery in New York is an exhibition of paintings by Mike Kelley entitled “Horizontal Tracking Shots.” The show is Kelley’s first exhibit in New York which is devoted solely to paintings. In the past, his collaborative and solo shows have involved elaborate multimedia sets, symbolic performance art, theatrical spectacles, drawings and installation works. This body of work grew out of one of Kelley’s previous exhibitions entitled “Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions,” a kind of auto-biographical, multi-faceted project that began in 1995, involving sculpture, video narrative and themes of trauma and repressed memory.
In Kelley’s current show, “Horizontal Tracking Shots,” the paintings in themselves are meant to initiate an experience for the viewer, capturing motion on the canvas and producing a quality “akin to the movie camera gliding through space, capturing action as it goes,” hence the title of his show. His past shows have also experimented with this concept of a “spatialized filmic montage.” Kelley’s work is known for questioning the legitimacy of cultural norms and values, delving into themes of family, religion, sexuality and education. His work draws from historical research and psychological theory and is often infused with references to punk music and pop culture. Visually, “Horizontal Tracking Shots” has a kind of “push-pull” effect upon the viewer– large polychrome panel paintings are juxtaposed against the smaller framed canvases, while colors either pop out or retreat into the background, depending upon their relation to each other.
Born in 1954 in Detroit, Kelley lives and works in Los Angeles. He is well known for his 2005 show entitled “Day is Done,” a multi-media extravaganza that involved filling the Gagosian Gallery with automated furniture, dream-like films, and other multimedia installations. Kelley attended the California Institute of the Arts where he has said to have drawn inspiration from several of his teachers—among them, John Baldessari and Laurie Anderson. He began gaining recognition in the 80’s with his sculptures and installation artwork outside of Los Angeles.
Kelley has received numerous awards for his work including The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, National Endowment for the Visual Arts Fellowships, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among others. The artist has had solo exhibitions at the Whitney Museum in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, Tate Liverpool, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and Kunsthalle, Basel, among others. Kelley has also recently collaborated with Mike Smith to produce a video installation entitled “A Voyage of Growth and Discovery.” The two have been friends since 1975. Their show is currently on view at The Sculpture Center in Long Island City until November 30th.