Thursday, February 2, 2012
a loss of inspiration.
I will take a break from my NYC show reviews to honor the great artist Mike Kelley. Sadly Kelley died this week in what seems to be from his own hand. This is incredibly sad as he was way to young and had so much more art within him to share. The reality is that the life and mind of an artist is complicated especially someone whom makes such poignant and raw art.
I first was introduced to Kelley as a result of my obsession with Annette Messeger, a fellow stuffed animal worker, and immediately responded to his work. To me his work is much about loss, fragility, and vulnerability. We know he worked from childhood and about childhood a lot but in my interpretation of his work this was just a source of inspiration to talk about humanity as a whole.
I have always been drawn to artists that use thrift store finds ever since a colleague in undergrad made an installation with found hook rugs. Via this piece I realized the power and weight the found object has, especially the discarded and stained found object and Kelley was a master at working with this and honoring it.
His afghan and stuffed animal works made working with these materials cool and conceptually valid. As an artist working in fiber but reaching out to be in the mainstream art world I owe a lot to artists such as Kelley and am saddened by the loss. You can read a very thorough obituary that gives a good overview of his life here much better then the much to brief NY times one.