The Enigmatic Graphite Works of Patrick Kelly

by Kirsten AndersonPosted on

To be honest, using the term “drawing” for Portland artist Patrick Kelly’s labor intensive abstracts doesn’t seem quite right. The oil slick surface of layers upon layers of graphite over watercolor paper undulates and spins with a 3D trompe l’oeil effect. The arduous labor and repetition of perfect parallel curved lines (created by using a handmade jig as a template for a line and infinitesimally inching it over to draw the next llne, and so forth thousands and thousands of times) grants a grounding solidity played off by the swooping loops and arcing shapes eventually created. These shapes invoke various suggestions of imagery, from the curve of seashells, to layers of gleaming broken record albums, to the perfect coils of a geisha’s hairdo. These beguiling images capture the perfect stark hardness of man-made technological form while simultaneously evoking the sensuous mathematics the natural bio-organic world builds itself upon.

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