Dowling Walsh Gallery is pleased to announce the exhibition Scott Kelley: Badlands at Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico, on view through September 23, 2023.
The exhibition features a selection of the artist's latest tour-de-force watercolor, gouache, and graphite works on paper inspired by his adventures in the New Mexico Badlands, a desert landscape marked by dramatic, other-worldly geologic formations and rich history. As Kelley says, "Nothing says New Mexico to me like the Badlands. It looks like you've left earth and landed on some inhospitable planet in the outer reaches of our galaxy. There truly is no other place quite like it."
A natural storyteller, Kelley brings wit and humor and a breadth of art historical references to his skillfully crafted, masterful works. For this series, he cites the influence of Georgia O'Keeffe, whose paintings of "the Black Place," one of her favorite painting areas in the Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, led him to explore this remote, isolated landscape, with its stretch of hills O'Keeffe likened to "a mile of elephants." He also acknowledges George Harriman's Krazy Kat comic strip, set in a fantastical desert landscape, as a source of inspiration. Kelley discovered the comic as a teenager and "has been hooked ever since."
The artist's large-scale, superbly rendered images of flora and fauna in their environment naturally call to mind the work of John James Audubon. Still, their often imaginative, anthropomorphic characterizations share more with the 19th-century French illustrator J.J. Grandville. Trained at Cooper Union in New York and the Slade School of Fine Art in London, with post-graduate work at Glassell School of Art in Houston, Kelley began painting the natural world around him while living on Long Island in the 1990s. Since then, he has continued to explore, in great detail and fascination, the exquisite wonders of nature in concert with his love of history and storytelling.
Scott Kelley lives on Peaks Island, Maine.