Mike Kelley - Horizontal Tracking Shots

Naked Majas (Bettelheim's Genital) (detail), 2008-2009
Acrylic on canvas, wood, enamel
70 1/2 x 192 x 4 1/2 inches (179.1 x 487.7 x 11.4 cm)


Download Press Release PDF (35 Kb)
Opening reception for the artist: Saturday, November 7th, from 6 to 8 pm

This body of work grew out of the Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction series, like Day is Done and A Domestic Scene, where I treated stage sets as paintings. Stage sets, like paintings, are designed to be seen frontally.
--Mike Kelley

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present Mike Kelley's "Horizontal Tracking Shots," his first show in New York devoted entirely to painting.

Evoking painting as a series of experiences akin to the movie camera gliding through space, capturing action as it goes, Kelley has devised a spatial push-pull effect through the arrangement of large polychrome panel paintings and smaller framed canvases. In the untitled colored reliefs, individual colors pop or recede in relation to each other. The colors of the flat support panels are determined by key colors in the organically shaped panels that are attached to them.

The colored reliefs, which evoke Modernist monochromes as well as domestic décor, have base moldings that give them an architectural quality, linking them to stage sets or theatrical space whereas the small framed paintings on canvas, hung individually or in tight clusters, operate like windows in the gallery walls, punctuating the spatial parameters set up by the larger panel paintings. In these smaller works with titles such as Mort's Mouth (2008-2009) and Twin Henrys (2008-2009), Kelley draws freely from a wide range of sources including elementary school textbook illustration, New Age painting, comic strips, and science-fiction.

The free-standing construction Horizontal Tracking Shot of a Cross Section of Trauma Rooms (2009), inspired by televisual space, presents a façade of colored panels on one side and on the other three video monitors that show TV color bars interspersed with short video clips depicting family life, from footage found on YouTube. Here color-field paintings become traumatic spaces. They are extensions of the ideas that Kelley explored in the Timeless Paintings (1995), where he employed the formalist relationships in Abstract Expressionist painting.

Mike Kelley was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1954 lives and works in Los Angeles. He studied at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of Michigan. Major solo exhibitions include "Educational Complex Onwards: 1995-2008," WIELS Centre d'Art Contemporain (2008), "Profondeurs Vertes," Musee du Louvre (2006), "The Uncanny," Tate Liverpool and Museum Moderne Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna (2004), "Framed and Framed, Test Room, Sublevel," MAGASIN, Grenoble (1999), "Mike Kelley," Museu D'art Contemporani, Barcelona (1997), "Catholic Tastes," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1993).

Kelley has recently collaborated with Mike Smith to produce a video installation titled A Voyage of Growth and Discovery, on view at The Sculpture Center, Long Island City until November 30. In association with Performa 09, Kelley will present three dance/performance pieces inspired by his video installation project Day is Done (2005), as well as the premiere of Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #33 (Ladder Piece). A retrospective exhibition will open at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam in the fall of 2010, traveling to Centre Pompidou, Paris, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich and MOCA, Los Angeles.

A fully illustrated catalogue with an interview between Mike Kelley and Ralph Rugoff will accompany this exhibition. For more information, please contact the gallery.

For further inquiries please contact the gallery at [email protected] or at 212.741.1111.

Follow us on twitter