I recently had a delightful conversation with artist Lea Kelley about her art, her process, and life in general. The phenomenal talent Kelly possesses for connecting life and art were clear to me within the very first few moments of our conversation. I found our discussion to be both exciting and enlightening. It was a real treat for me to visit with someone with the insight and goodness that she exudes. She was engaging and energetic. Not pushy, but anxious to let me discover her world little by little, a good listener who seemed to perceive my question almost before I could ask it. Over the next few months I will be doing a series of articles about Kelley and some of her work. This is an unusual step for me, but one that I hope readers will enjoy. This first article is meant to be a general introduction.
Not only has Kelley earned the right to be seen as a master of abstract artistic techniques, she also has a unique and special ability to articulate the connection between her art, her own experiences, and her understanding of the inner workings of what it means to be human globally. This profound ability to elevate expressions about life and the human condition (most often experienced only through the normal articulation of verbal language) to a higher level through the medium of color, shape, and texture in art is rare indeed.
Lea Kelley is content to “put it out there”, and let us each make our own conclusions. I like that. Her art invites us in, welcomes us to explore our own fears, joys, memories, vulnerabilities and processes. It tickles our imagination and makes us want to be better. It asks us to connect with our intuitive, reflective, intentional selves. Since there is no one best interpretation of her work, to more fully understand a Kelley piece is to more fully understand self.
Before Kelley starts working on a new piece of art she titles it. This was interesting to learn because it seemed counter-intuitive to me. However, this one aspect of the way she works reveals an introspection, an understanding of her own emotional experiences, and an intentionality that is both refreshing and uplifting. She goes through this process, paints a picture, then goes abstract.
Lea Kelley is an artist that can best be described as an abstract expansionist. This terminology is likely new to many, and I will explore what it means in a future article. At the heart of it all, she is a warm and loving human being who has the amazing talent for demonstrating through her art, both technical skill, as well as her own conceptions about life, and the paths it requires us to walk. Painters are a dime a dozen, and many are probably very good at talking about life, but Lea Kelley takes it to a whole new level, and is much more than a painter. She is a true artist.
For some insight into Lea Kelley, and yourself through some of her art, you can see some of her paintings in the Lea Kelley section of the Fairhaven Originals Gallery online.