Born in California in 1972, Mikey Kelly is a contemporary artist living and working in Napa, CA.
His work explores the use of language and polyalphabetic ciphers to create algorithmic programs that direct the paintings. Each piece is painted one line at a time to exacting angles to create woven layers of paint creating fields of interference patters and vibrations. The paintings truly need to be seen in person to fully experience.
Kelly exhibits regularly, including shows at Chandra Cerrito Contemporary (Oakland, CA), Art Market (San Francisco, CA), Miami Project (Miami, FL), Franklin Parrasch Gallery (New York, NY) Cranbrook Art Museum (Bloomfield Hills, MI) Crocker Kingsley Museum (Sacramento, CA), Startup Art Fair (San Francisco and Los Angeles, CA), Kala Gallery (Berkeley, CA), Berkeley Art Center (Berkeley, CA), and Bedford Gallery (Walnut Creek, CA). His work has been shown nationally and is included in several public and corporate collections.
He has recently been an artist in residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA and at Lucid Art Foundation in Inverness, CA.
University of Oregon, BA
Cranbrook Academy of Art, MFA
Mikey Kelly creates drawings and paintings through a repetitious network of hand drawn lines. A mathematical framework provides the basis for each piece, while a quiver or smudge belies its human touch. Eye-bending patterns recall Op Artists like Heinz Mack and Bridget Riley, while process-driven constructions nod to Minimalists like Sol LeWitt.
Kelly’s monochromatic ink drawings of countless fine lines appear woven like fabric or metal mesh. Overlapping marks within angular geometric compositions create moiré patterns, illusory shifts in value, and other engaging optical effects. In his enamel paintings, multi-colored lines are densely layered, recalling the tight weave of tapestries. Straight lines superimposed at slight angles appear rippled and intertwined.
In this age of digital design, Kelly chooses a more painstaking method of construction. Like flaws that only enhance beauty when seen through the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi, subtle “imperfections” in Kelly’s works bring a richness that would not be possible with the unswerving regularity of a machine. While a viewer’s first assumption may be that these works are achieved with the aid of modern technology, they are in fact reminders of the rewarding possibilities of fastidious and patient handwork.