Artist Biography - Jonathan Kelly

Jonathan Kelly (b. 1988, Hereford, UK) studied at Royal Academy Schools and previously at Wimbledon College of Art.

Kelly is attracted to the earliest art, the Paleolithic, as it looks beyond today’s complexities to more universal concerns of life, death and sexuality. He paints totemic idols, deities and venuses, and employs reductive geometries to create flattened mand
...ala-like structures that suggest a devotional function.

Headless figures in contorted yogic positions appear to emerge from within the canvas, as if these dormant deities have been illuminated with saturated colour. Whilst stuck-on elements, including arrowheads and poker-chips, disrupt the image but also align with the figure’s geometry.

Like offerings, adornments are placed in a ritual manner, as in reverence or an act of divination. The iteration of the motifs speak of the ritual and habitual nature of belief, like a mantra the paintings are between meaning and meaninglessness.

Kelly posits how painting functions as a self- deceptive activity that distracts from and suppresses existential doubt. By paralleling art-production with religious belief – both essentially irrational acts – he questions their implicit values.

Selected Exhibitions:

  • 2018 - ‘Chumming’, The Pipe Factory, Glasgow, Scotland [Glasgow International]
  • 2018 - ‘Abode’, 6 Park Villas, Little Venice, London
  • 2017 - ‘Paper Cuts’, Tripp Gallery, Clerkenwell, London
  • 2017 - ‘Art Rooms Four’, Piccadilly Arcade, Piccadilly, London
  • 2017 - ‘Griffin Art Prize’, Griffin Gallery, Shepherds Bush, London
  • 2017 - ‘The Residency’, Herrick Gallery, Mayfair, London
Selected Residencies:

  • ‘Da Vinci Residency’, Galeriehaus Defet, Nurnberg
  • ‘Faschingbauer-Schloss Residency’, Cologne
  • ‘FACK Residency’, Griffin Gallery, Shepherds Bush, London
Selected Collections:

  • Grovesnor Estate / Neo-Bankside, London
  • Newton Investment Collection, London
  • The Leslie Collection, International
  • Faschingbauer-Schloss Collection, Germany
  • IVI Collection, London
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