“I produce work based on the inefficiency of memory’s ability to maintain narrative. Developing formal sensory triggers that precipitate nostalgic responses this body of work hopes to engage narrative participation from the viewer. These formally ambiguous objects, which act as surrogates for lost entities in my personal experience, become tactile markers for memories which have broken down over time. Like a jpeg that is averaged and deteriorates each time it is accessed, these scenes are averaged time over time and gaps are filled to create clarity. Like a game of telephone, continually accessing these memories breaks down our ability to accurately store their information. I am interested in this type of systematic failure, a beautiful disaster of sentimentality. Engaging that element of the human experience is an essential part of my practice. Keeping my objects formally ambiguous allows the viewer to engage on their own terms.
“Within these works on paper I am able to explore this idea in the flat image. Whereas my sculptural forms can be surrogates for lost memory objects, these flat images compress the form not unlike a snapshot. When making sculptural forms I can rely on their objecthood to relate to the viewer. These paintings on paper inherently focus more on color and shape to develop a relationship to a memory. I am also able to create an illusionistic space that differs from the real space that my wall and floor objects inhabit. So the objects in the works on paper are able to function autonomous of real space restrictions, but are frequently working with systems that are familiar to the viewer. There is a dialogue between my dimensional work and the works on paper. They inform decisions for each other. I solve problems for the objects while working on paper, and vice versa.”
Lucas Kelly’s work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States and throughout Europe. His work has been included in multiple group shows most notably in the survey of abstract painting “The Painted World” at MoMA PS1. A full professor in Visual Arts at Mercer Community College, Kelly is also the Director of the college’s gallery. Kelly holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and a MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.