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Lee Kelly

Portland Art Museum
Portland OR – Oct 2, 2010-Jan 9, 2011

Lee Kelly, Arlie

Lee Kelly, Arlie (1978), steel [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Oct 2-Jan 9] Museum Purchase: Helen Thurston Ayer Fund © Lee Kelly

Lee Kelly, A One Pound Canto

Lee Kelly, A One Pound Canto (1960), oil on canvas [Portland Art Museum, Portland OR, Oct 2-Jan 9] Gift of Brooks and Dorothy Cofield, 2009.2 © Lee Kelly

The creator of numerous prominent public sculptures throughout the Pacific Northwest, Oregon City, artist Lee Kelly is currently in the spotlight at the Portland Art Museum with a retrospective exhibition. His paintings depict jagged forms appearing to rise out of hazy backgrounds. He has created similar shapes in the bulk of his sculptural work over the past five decades.

Kelly's abstract influences can be seen in his earliest pieces from the 1960s. As a student of the Portland Museum Art School, Kelly began his career painting in an Abstract Expressionist style influenced by Louis Bunce and Frederic Littman. This period, which later informed his approach as a sculptor, has been given special attention in the exhibition.

Later works, inspired by his travels to such primitive structural sites as Stonehenge, England, show a marked departure from painterly abstraction. In the 1980s, Kelly enjoyed a close relationship with Nepali artists who taught him their traditional bronze casting methods during visits to the Kathmandu Valley.

Kelly's sculptures are often enormous in scale and add an architectural component to the landscape. The retrospective includes a guide to the artist’s public sculpture installation sites, including those in Portland.He continues to produce work in a variety of materials from Leland Iron Works, his five-acre studio near Oregon City.


Allyn Cantor

 Fri, Nov 5, 2010