Gravity and Light, an exhibition of new two- and three-dimensional works by Jeff Kellar, will be on display September 9 through October 14 at William Campbell Contemporary Art. The gallery will host an opening reception on FWADA’s Fall Gallery Night, Saturday, September 9, from noon to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition will include abstract paintings and sculptures from Kellar’s Reveal, Winter Drawings, and Glimpse 2 series. Created simultaneously, each collection of work examines the complexities of spatial relationships, focusing on the fundamental elements of object construction and the effects of external physical and visual forces on them.
A shape rests on a shape. Color presses on color. The simple pleasure of perceiving space and the place of things. To describe how the world comes together using economical means. All the wonder of the world finds shape in gravity and light.
By exploring how far he can effectively reduce visual detritus, Kellar seeks to reveal the magnitude of basic compositional elements, to employ the power of simplicity to transform potentially subtle facets like shape, line, and color into the crux of the work.
Kellar works in a mixture of resin, clay, and pigment—materials that he describes as “holding the memory of many things.” He applies multiple layers to each surface to build segments of color that range from bold to subtle, but invariably display a certain depth and intensity (not unlike frescoes). His paintings are on thin aluminum panels that float a half-inch from the wall, protruding into viewer space and emphasizing the objectness of the pieces. The resulting shadows around the panels situate them in space, while also describing the effects of gravity and light on their physicality. “They’re not so much a window on the world but a surface to hold illusion,” he says.
The paintings with repeated shapes and lines allow the suggestion of movement and rhythm as well as objects in relation to space. I think that time is a spatial and rhythmic concept and that by capturing a moment it’s possible to heighten the awareness of being alive.
Tiny yet monumental totems, Kellar’s block sculptures initiate perception play as they interact with their larger, two-dimensional counterparts. “There’s something that appeals to me about making it small and making your imagination be the thing that can place you in relation to it,” Kellar says of the sculptures. “I think that’s the appeal of them.” Though attached, the small-scale blocks appear to balance freely on one another, creating potential energy and spurring additional visual banter among the pieces about the importance of scale, color, and how we perceive the importance of each.
Ultimately, Kellar utilizes assemblages of color and form to communicate how these integral components reflect and embody the surrounding world. “It’s all about space, or objects in space,” says the artist, who describes such minimal work as permissive and open, allowing viewers to fill in or take out visual stimuli and emotional content as they interact with it. His nonrepresentational paintings and sculptures, in turn, become universal in nature, not attributed to one time, place, or style. They engage each viewer uniquely, depending on experiences, memories, and aesthetic preferences. “The work is about the senses and its physical attributes and the way I hope it makes you feel.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
A highly acclaimed painter and sculptor, Jeff Kellar has exhibited work across the United States for more than two decades, including venues in New York, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Miami, Philadelphia, and San Francisco, as well as throughout his home state of Maine. He has received numerous prizes and awards, including the coveted Adolf and Esther Gottlieb Individual Support Grant in 2014, the Purchase Prize at the Portland Museum of Art’s 2007 Maine Biennial, and a Good Idea Grant in Digital Printmaking from the Maine Arts Commission in 2005.
Kellar’s art has been featured in many publications, among them THE magazine, Sculpture magazine, the Boston Sunday Herald, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Portland Phoenix. His work also appears in Maine Art New by Edgar Allen Beem, and in the 2007 Main Biennial exhibition catalog published by the Portland Museum of Art.
Kellar’s paintings appear in various public collections, including those of the Portland Museum of Art in Maine; the University of Maine, Farmington; Illinois’ Elmhurst Art Museum; and the Microsoft Collection in Seattle. He had a residency and taught at the University of Southern Maine, and was a visiting artist at the University of Maine Farmington. He also served for two years on the Maine Arts Commission Advisory Panel.
Jeff Kellar received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, and has also studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Fleisher Memorial Art Institute in Philadelphia.