Ellsworth Kelly (May 31, 1923 – December 27, 2015) was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker associated with hard-edge painting, Color Field painting and Minimalism. His works demonstrate unassuming techniques emphasizing line, color and form, often employing bright hues.
Upon entering U.S military service in 1943 Kelly requested to be assigned to the 603rd Engineers Camouflage Battalion, which took many artists. During World War II, he served with other artists and designers in a deception unit known as The Ghost Army. The Ghost soldiers used inflatable tanks, trucks, and other elements of subterfuge to mislead the Axis forces about the direction and disposition of Allied forces. His exposure to military camouflage during the time he served became part of his basic art training.
Kelly has been a widely influential force in the post-war art world. He first rose to critical acclaim in the 1950s with his bright, multi-paneled and largely monochromatic canvases. Maintaining a persistent focus on the dynamic relationships between shape, form and color, he was one of the first artists to create irregularly shaped canvases. His subsequent layered reliefs, flat sculptures, and line drawings further challenged viewers' conceptions of space.
Real-life observations are the backbone of Kelly's abstraction works, which are replications of the shapes, shadows, and other visual sensations he experiences in the world around him.
Kelly intends for viewers to experience his artwork with instinctive, physical responses to the work's structure, color, and surrounding space rather than with contextual or interpretive analysis. He encourages a kind of silent encounter, or bodily participation by the viewer with the artwork, chiefly by presenting bold and contrasting colors free of gestural brushstrokes or recognizable imagery, panels protruding gracefully from the wall, and irregular forms inhabiting space as confidently as the viewer before them.
Exhibitions at Gallagher & Turner:
21st March - 27th April 2019