January 12, 2023
Story by Joe Vinduska
Courtesy photos submitted
The Shafer Art Gallery will unveil its next exhibit “Figure/Ground” by Kevin Kelly with a reception at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20 in the Gallery, which will feature a short artist talk, comments by the director and light refreshments. Admission is free.
Shafer Gallery Director Dave Barnes said he is ecstatic to have such a vibrant and contemporary artist on display in the Gallery.
“We really try to bring artists to the Shafer Gallery who are on the cutting edge of art making in Kansas,” he said. “Kevin Kelly is happening right now. He has several exhibits running concurrently. He is showing in the Lawrence Arts Center, Mark Arts in Wichita and at the Shafer Gallery. As an engaged high school art teacher, I think he is very into working with the formal basics and the raw materials of design. He transforms shapes bold textures and shaped canvases into exciting, thoughtful visual encounters. The Shafer Gallery will be aglow with vibrant light and color.”
Kelly is an artist and educator from the middle of America. His artwork is held in many private collections across the United States and has been recognized through the Golden Artist Residency, the Mother’s Milk Artist Residency, the Harvester Arts Community Fellowship Program, and the Oklahoma Visual Arts Commission. Kelly has been featured in group and solo exhibits in Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and New York for the last 15 years. His work has been featured in several publications, including New American Paintings, Studio Visit magazine, and the book “Wichita Artists in Their Studios.”
Kelly describes his take on being a painter in his artist statement.
“It seems to me that the story of painting was partially supposed to be about uncovering creative possibilities, freezing an artistic gesture, and finding an individual identity,” he said. “These artworks awkwardly occupy that space between a romanticized, painterly experience of the world and the unromantic surroundings of the Midwest I grew up in. That landscape is characterized by utility, heavy-handed social and political messaging, and a restrained dialect. I am using the vocabulary of painting as I dissect its processes. By taking painted gestures and my surroundings out of their normal contexts, I hope to give both a fighting chance.”
The Shafer Gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is always free. For more information, contact Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or (620) 792-9342.