Kelly’s recent sculptural works are inspired by the Glenade valley in North Leitrim and specifically two fading zigzagged paths that climb the sheer stony faces of the valley’s sides to encounter the unseen levels above. Once the routes of wheel-less carts bearing turf, they are now, for Kelly, gateways to the unpeopled upper lands, of dark lake waters and heather-beds, the spaces readily populated by the imagination.
In connecting the works to this narrow belt of the Glenade valley Kelly has relied on a form of dreaming that he uses to structure the various objects and assemblages in the exhibition. As the artist states: ‘Far from the everyday, that might be processing what has occurred in waking life, or scenes that might be readily interpreted by an analyst, there occasionally comes seeming visions of another parallel world. They have a distinct tone and flavour, and they relate to others of the same kind.’
Working primarily in cast and fabricated metals Kelly distils these dreams through a series of structures that imagine vast ruined or abandoned architectural spaces, cities, rock-cut temples and shrine-like structures. In their time of creation, the focus of the works developed while on residency at the Centre, coalesce these dream spaces which are overlaid onto the physical topology of the Glenade valley.
Born in Dublin 1980, James Kelly completed a BA Fine Art at University College Falmouth in 2010 and an MFA in Sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, graduating in 2014. From his BA he was awarded the Wilhemina Barnes-Graham Travel to Italy Award during which, while walking 300km from Siena to Rome, he created digital work addressing pilgrimage, harvest and landscape. Following the MFA James was recipient of the Lands Securities Award, providing a year’s studio with Bow Arts in London.
Exhibitions and screenings include Featherheads and Dreamers, The Model, Sligo 2020 and 2016; being selected by Adam Chodzko for a group show at LIMBO, Margate 2015 and by Lisa Milroy for the Creekside Open, London 2015; Alchemy Film Festival, Hawick 2014; Household Festival, Belfast 2012, and Late at Tate “Fieldclub” at Tate St Ives 2011. Two commissioned artist's films include for the Korean Cultural Centre, London 2014 and a selection by Eleanor Flegg for the Hunt Museum, Limerick in 2011
Curated by Sean O'Reilly