Monday, March 21, 2016

Final Week: Robert & Thomas Kelly at Octavia Gallery Through Friday, March 25th

Robert and Thomas Kelly are twins, and if their artistic vision seems poles apart at first glance--exemplifying, in fact, the differences between abstract art and interpretive documentary photography--a closer look reveals certain related traits including affinities for form, color and the cultural origins of the art impulse itself. As artists influenced by their seminal years in New Mexico this should come as no surprise, and as much as Robert Kelly's imagery may seem to allude to modernism, abstraction, and especially the geometricity of op and minimalism, it doesn't take much sleuthing to see the bold graphical acuity of the Plains Indians as a distinctive point of origin. If the baroque mystique of Thomas Kelly's photography initially seems at a far remove from his brother's in tone and scope, the Nepalese Hindu shamans and saddhus seen in his images ultimately derive their sense of design from a not unrelated metaphysical impulse. It has been said that "Both artists are able to suggest that which the eye cannot see and have a certain reflection and absorption in the act of creating an image. They prefer to live with questions rather than answers, pointing toward greater mysteries. Inspired by the notion that sacred symbols are concealed and then revealed, each artist uses their respective mediums to express their ultimate concerns. They use creativity to find sanctuary, beauty, humility, focus and a voice." Octavia Art Gallery, 454 Julia Street St., 309-4249.