Ryan W. Kelly

Artist Statement

My work comes into being through a great deal of non-linear or associative research, tangential explorations and an abiding love of the object, the well made, properly made, appropriate object. (In that, I leave room for the appropriateness of the immediate, the unrefined and the crude). The form my work takes, and the subject matter I work with are in a looping dialogue. They find commonality in the theme of the solitary figure, a figure from history or myth, engaged in labor.


These semi-universal characters out of history, popular culture and collective understanding, serve both as an entry point for viewers, and as a jumping off point for myself into allegories for my own internal struggles and observations. I come from and teach in a craft based discipline where the arrival at a successful final product is dependent on mastery of a fickle and demanding material. I am indebted to this material. To barrow a phrase from Walt Whitman, I am ‘out of the cradle endlessly rocked’ by a craft based work ethic.