MIKE KELLEY: HORIZONTAL TRACKING SHOTS, with text by Ralph Rugoff
Gagosian Gallery, 2009 First edition, 140 pp., 10 1/4" X 12 1/4" Hardcover
Evoking painting as a series of experiences akin to the movie camera gliding through space, capturing action as it goes, Kelley has devised a spatial push-pull effect through the arrangement of large polychrome panel paintings and smaller framed canvases. In the untitled colored reliefs, individual colors pop or recede in relation to each other. The colors of the flat support panels are determined by key colors in the organically shaped panels that are attached to them.
The colored reliefs, which evoke Modernist monochromes as well as domestic décor, have base moldings that give them an architectural quality, linking them to stage sets or theatrical space whereas the small framed paintings on canvas, hung individually or in tight clusters, operate like windows in the gallery walls, punctuating the spatial parameters set up by the larger panel paintings. In these smaller works with titles such as Mort's Mouth (2008-2009) and Twin Henrys (2008-2009), Kelley draws freely from a wide range of sources including elementary school textbook illustration, New Age painting, comic strips, and science-fiction.