There are no rules. That is how art
is born, how breakthroughs happen.
Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what
invention is about.
The June Kelly Gallery celebrates its 30th
Anniversary with a group exhibition of drawings and photographs by
gallery artists. It will open on Thursday, December 21, 2017
and continue through January 30, 2018.
To mark the 30 years, the gallery artists were
invited to exhibit drawings and photographs embracing independent
selections of a multiplicity of subject, style and process.
Drawing and Photography are expansive
concepts. In this exhibition, interpretation of either medium is not
limited to a traditional sense as the drawn line made with a pencil,
pen, or charcoal on white paper as in Stan Brodsky’s drawing, titled
Rear View, 1968. James Little speaks of his brilliantly
colored vertical geometric bands, When Aaron Tied Ruth, 2008,
executed in multiple layers of oil and wax on canvas as a drawing.
Rebecca Welz refers to her welded and twisted steel rods reflecting
interconnectedness, Lace Barnacle, 2017 as a drawing and
Philemona Williamson says depicting the drawn line in her lithograph
with graphite, Untitled, allows insight to her process of
painting. Ming Smith’s nostalgic narrative, Roxbury
Interior, Boston, MA., 1978; LeRoy Henderson’s portrait
Carmen de Lavallade (Bedford Stuyvesant Festival, 1985); Charles
Martin, Flight, 2008 and John Pinderhughes panoramic
naturescape, Splashing Water/Montauk, 1997, reflect
contemporary approaches with subject.
“Stimulating while demanding years” is gallery
owner June Kelly’s comment when speaking of the three decades that
have brought her much gratification.
Herself vested with a richly diverse career in
the art world, June Kelly is especially pleased that pursuant to her
initial mission in 1987 that her gallery artists represent a broad,
diverse ethnic and international spectrum and that their work would
be placed in museum permanent collections globally; she has clearly
succeeded in those unremitting objectives.
In this 30th year alone, for example, her
ethnic and gender diverse gallery artists continue to receive
domestic and global attention -- World War I and American Art,
a traveling exhibition organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the
Fine Arts and which included Debra Priestly’s drawing; Kay
WalkingStick: An American Artist, Smithsonian National Museum of
The American Indian (a multi-venue retrospective); Philemona
Williamson’s back-to-back retrospectives, Metaphorical Narratives,
Montclair Art Museum and Converging Voices: Gender and Identity,
the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; photographer Ming
Smith, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women 1965-85,
Brooklyn Museum and John Pinderhughes, Uptown, Miriam and Ira
D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University; Julio Valdez,
Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC; Rebecca Welz,
SciArt Center, Easton, PA; Mark Alsterlind, France; Su-Li Hung,
Taiwan; Su Kwak, Korea; Hanibal Srouji, Lebanon, and Nola Zirin,
Gallery artists whose work entered museum
permanent collections in this milestone year include Frances Hynes,
The Albany Institute of History and Art; Sandra Lerner, Gutman
Gallery, Harvard Graduate School of Education; James Little, Chad,
Central Africa; Sarah Plimpton, The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript
Library, Yale University; Debra Priestly, The Pennsylvania Academy
of Fine Arts; Joan Giordano, Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete,
Kay WalkingStick, The Newark Museum and The Virginia Museum of Fine
Arts; Philemona Williamson, Montclair Art Museum, and Nola Zirin,
The Taoxichuang Art Museum of China Central Academy of Fine Art.
Other highlights for the year include The
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts acquiring a masterpiece by gallery
artist Hughie Lee-Smith (1915-1999) titled Absence of Gaiety,
ca. 1962, oil on canvas, 34 ¼ x 50 ½ inches for their permanent
collection. It is a classic Lee-Smith that is haunting,
staying long in the mind’s eye.
The University of Iowa, the Board of Regents
and the State of Iowa approved the naming of a new residence hall in
honor of gallery artist Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), an alumna of
the school. In 1940, Elizabeth Catlett became one of the first
three MFA graduates from the University of Iowa and was the first
African American woman to receive the degree. She would become
one of the most important American sculptors and printmakers of the
Gallery artists Colin Chase received the Joan
Mitchell Grant for Painting and Sculpture and Bruce Dorfman, the
Pollack-Krasner Foundation Individual Grant. Claudia DeMonte,
received a Sol LeWitt Residency, Spoleto, Italy. The
Metropolitan Transit Authority commission won by James Little
continues in fabrication, Paderborn, Germany. Moe Brooker
begins the coveted GSA (General Services Department) Washington, DC
commission he won for a wall in the Philadelphia Convention Center.
“It has been an exciting journey,” Kelly said.
“Despite the ups and downs inherent in this demanding field, I’m
grateful to so many people for their contributions to the gallery’s
achievements over the past three decades.