Brian Kelly

Story by the artist.

I’ve made objects from a variety of materials for the greater part of my life … 2D, 3D, moving and stationary. And for most of that time, I’ve lived in Hamilton and area. I’ve shown, volunteered or have been on the boards and/or a member of a collection of local organizations.

Brian Kelly. "Ian Gray's Missing Volvo". circa 1980s. Found object sculpture. Courtesy of the artist.

IAN GRAY’S MISSING VOLVO: This construction is made from a cannibalized painting of the escarpment (in Dundas) including a plywood cutout of my friend’s Volvo. The “freshened canvas” was festooned with found wood bits, reclaimed lamp parts and a light. The piece was made, I think, in the late 80s and was purchased by my friend Jewel Foster and Ted Haines. I’ve been lucky to be able to revisit this work at Ted and Jewel’s annual seasonal gathering, “Cristmessy”.

Brian Kelly. "Happy Fish Man". circa 1990s. 18" x 12", found object sculpture. Courtesy of the artist.

HAPPY FISH MAN: This work, and subsequent constructions, was inspired by my friend Ian Gray’s lamps made from found objects. His were a great deal more elegant that my attempts but that’s where it started. I think this one was made from found catalytic converter remnants, a wooden ball, commercial enamel and a chandelier fixture. It’s about 18″ by 12″ (approximately) and was show at Bryce Kanbara’s You Me Gallery in the late 90s (I think).

Brian Kelly. "Award for the Artists with the Friendliest Greeting". circa 1990s, found object sculpture. Courtesy of the artist.

AWARD FOR THE ARTISTS WITH THE FRIENDLIEST GREETING: After read a small portion of Karl Jung’s outlook on the way that the world works, I translated his passages on heroism into my own understanding as “the heroics of daily life” … the things we all do, not because of a hope for recognition, but because we’ve taking the responsibility to show up and do things. I made a number of “awards” for simple but necessary achievements … this is one of them. It’s made of wood (the top is lathe-turned) a reclaimed foot from a chair and a found bit of faux foliage.It’s about 8″ tall and painted with commercial enamel.

Brian Kelly. "Round Face with a Skewed World View". circa 1990s. Approx. 24", found object sculpture. Courtesy of the artist.

ROUND FACE WITH A SKEWED WORLD VIEW: 1990s. Found objects (tiny globe, industrial springs, cable spool top) with fan, commercial enamel and indicator lights. This work was made when I still had access to a table saw … the spacers on the back of the face to hold the disc away from the wall were cut at 45 degrees. Hard to do without power tools. The table saw was my grandfathers/fathers, a Beaver, made in Guelph, Ontario. I used it as a coffee table when it became unsafe to use and exhibited it at the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre, eventually ended up in the hands of a tradesman/collector who refurbished it. This might been the last figurative painting I did before settling on a non-representational aesthetic. It’s about 24″ across without the spring extensions and makes a soothing humming sound when the fan is on.

Brian Kelly. "Wonderbread". circa 2000. 59" x 23" x 15", found object sculpture. Courtesy of the artist.

WONDERBREAD: This work is 59″ x 23″ x 15 made mostly from found objects: e.g. a section of countertop, florescent light fixture parts, a cookie tin, porch light fixture parts, and Christmas tree ornaments. It was made for a group show at The Assembly/Red Church. I used white as a means to have portions of the construction blend/bleed with the white wall of the gallery. It somehow suggested the nutritional emptiness of “Wonderbread”, the title.

Brian Kelly. "Hood Ornament". circa 2000. 18" x 12" x 10", found object sculpture. Courtesy of the artist.

HOOD ORNAMENT: Originally called “Lid”, was a contribution to a fundraiser, True Patriot Love, to sponsor programs for ex-service people and their families. The organizer send a helmet, similar to those worn by Canadian military personnel, and the artist would “enhance” it with there own aesthetic. Politics aside, I thought it was a worthwhile project. It’s roughly 18″ x 12″ x 10″ made of (the helmet), a pot lid, muffin tray cups, reclaimed metal siding, Christmas tree ornaments, commercial spray paints and chandelier light fixtures.