Pete Kelly ‘Back in Blighty’
Great Dane Silhouette
Back in Blighty
May 3 – June 25, 2017
Wednesday, May 3, 6:00-8:00pm
Pete Kelly’s latest show admirably showcases the lush greenness, diverse landscape, and ever-fleeting light of the British terrain. We are invited to join his excursions throughout the country as he brings light to the captivating, idiosyncratic characteristics of the land. He captures the oddities of the landscape; solitary figures bathing in sunlight, silhouette of a frolicking Great Dane in the mist, and subtle remnants of a bygone era. Kelly’s incredibly unique, picturesque editing style further mythologizes his subjects, he meddles with an air of mystery that defines the viewers experience.
Kelly employs a mixture of a single image with layers of photographs of textures. The feel and look of the end result pay homage to English romanticist landscape painters such as J.M.W Turner and Constable. Kelly applies varnish and then uses Photographic Encaustic wax over the print. He encases the archival pigment print in beeswax and damar resin; tree sap in its purest form. These organic components have been found to have preserving qualities by ancient Egyptians, which replace the need for glass over the photograph. The impersonality of a raw digital file is alleviated through this process and makes the image a ‘one off. Combining modern photographic and printing technology with ancient crafting techniques, Kelly is the originator of art that is tactile, archival and organic.
In one image entitled Brabyns Autumn examines man’s contemporaneously interruptive and complimentary relationship with the surrounding land, and zeros in on a serenity only manifested when man and nature successfully coexist. Small figures, animals, and dwellings found in the landscape are essential points of interest for Kelly. Using nature as a tool for fortifying scale and perspective, Kelly magnificently reinforces the grandiose essence of nature as opposed to the insignificant disposition of man. Kelly’s tiny subjects painted against a vast landscape offer a point of reference for our own trifling experiences and memories.
Kelly’s fascination with photography began at an early age. Born in England in 1966, grew up in West Germany. After leaving school he enrolled in a photography course with the Royal Air Force Photographic Unit, based in Wildenrath, Germany. Although this initial training lasted only six months, it established a life long passion and dedication to photography. Already an avid traveler, Kelly initially decided to return to the UK, to study Graphic Design and Advertising at Stockport College, before moving to America in 1987. After completing an Internship at an innovative commercial photography studio in the United States, worked as a Photographers Assistant; working closely with a range of photographers allowed him to intrinsically develop his own refined sense of aesthetic as well as develop and master photographic theory and technique. Pete has taught Photo Encaustic at Applied Arts in Amagansett, NY and Workshops in his studio in Marple, England for groups like the Royal Photographic Society and private individuals. This is his fifth solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery. Please go to robinricegallery.com to view the exhibition.