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Newsletter, Winter/Spring 2006

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by L. Chrystal Dmitrovic

Kelly Moore in 2006

Kelly's large magnificent untitled work known as 'untitled 2003' was chosen as the cover for the Arts Centre of the Ozarks annual program guide in Arkansas for the 2003-2004 season. Originally a native son of Arkansas, Kelly now resides in the New Mexico desert.

     It’s still a wonderful challenge to describe the contemporary art of Kelly Moore. Early on in his career he was labelled a Primitive and Outsider. Too, early 20th century cubists whisper, and Kandinsky gives a nod of approval. The Einsteinian equation title above gives another hint. The techniques and talents can be loosely compared to such masters in Kelly’s work, but the emotion is cleansing, the taste quite raw. So his art must be edible.
      Kelly himself admits he paints quickly. Pre-thought and spontaneous inspiration mingle, opposites though they may be. His paint comes from a rain cloud or an inner demon. The canvas is forgiving and drinks and spills over, and becomes a painting, an art form known as Kelly Moore. His paintings are not sensual in the sexual sense, but rather, sensory – touching, feeling, yet never fully revealing..(He has been photographed painting in gloves. Many natural artist oil paints contain toxic chemicals, and can off-gas or be absorbed through the skin when wet.)
     His finished canvases have the dreamworld quality of a field filled with magic truffles. Our eyes become our mouths, through which Kelly’s magic enters our secret beings and imparts understanding of his art cosmos. He starts by giving us an often undefinable-by-words impression, and completion comes afterward from the viewer’s own imagination. And he knows that we can know the full circle of his creations by feeling alone.
     So nibble slowly at Kelly’s paintings. His message is in the departed paint, the dry idea, residual trauma and the electric energy of his gormandized palette. The art is night and day, and throbs with innocence and darkness, wildness and escapism. He is frequently haunted and blessed by puppet images. The question is, do they own him or guide him, or is he the tamer? Yes, you must eat Kelly’s paintings, and digest, for a long time, until meaning metamorphoses into the abstract and shuts the door until it wants to open into an ever more expanding vista of eclectic hocus-pocus.

continued below …

Flower Picker (12x16 oil on canvas): This is a benign easy-to-like little character out on a sunny day picking flowers. Jean-Michel Basquiat couldn't have done it better.

Don't Drink the Poison Water (8x10 multi-media on paper) Another image propelled from Kelly's imagination and philosophies.

From left to right, Animal (12x16), Self Portrait With My Friends (24x30) and Fish are People (16x20) are all examples of Kelly's work in oil textured with sand.

     In the meantime you’ll accept the outer sensory; there is the undeniable urge to touch his paintings, especially those composed with sand and other elements. These works of art give the impression that they want to speak to you, or have said something already when you weren’t listening. His “beauty” (as euphorically depicted in the issue cover image) line of art is both cosmetic and free-spirited, a miasma of mystery and almosts.
     Like a young Picasso, Kelly has experimented with mixed media and produced some highly original collages, filled with critiques of our modern day commercialism, or delving into painful personal experiences. In one, a woman is seen walking out a door with an overwhelming sense of endings and beginnings. Another road has taken him into fetishism and spirit-gods, using found objects to create three-dimensional mystical art. Again, a predominant motif is the inculpable ravaged homunculus soul. This reappearing figment in all of Kelly’s media leads one to suspect he is looking for himself in his art, or is utilizing the style of expressionism to express himself in ways he cannot give voice to, for whatever reason. He does not intentionally create a garden path to lead one down to explanation. We must look for the path, and unravel the ball of string for ourselves. Perhaps as we find Kelly, we find more of ourselves, hence the attraction to his art in the first place.

continued below …

Left: Black Frog (36x36 multi-media on canvas) A traditional occult symbol, the black frog is the quiet subject of this storyteller canvas reminiscent of ancient cave paintings. Right: Requiem for Little Red Riding Hood (24 inches tall, found items): Kelly explained in a recent e-mail message to collectors that many of the components of his art fetish work were found in an arroyo (creekbed) in Sante Fe. Unusual, yet striking, the detailing on the figure is intricate, and again there is the prescient feel of the recurrent figment

     What Kelly ultimately conveys is a perception of the unlimited in everything - extraordinary wonder, deep penance of conscience and the possible suggestion that there is no dividing line between the conscious and the unconscious mood or action. Freud has not yet been born in Kelly’s dares of convention. Has he pooh-poohed contemporary society or simply given up on it? Perhaps the further secret lies in the clues in his poetry. Between the word and the image, maybe there Kelly can be found. Explained. Unexplained. Equalled in the past. Unequalled in the contemporary eye.

Catapilar (8x10 multi-media on paper) Here, the recurring puppet creature has transmutably taken flight

Editor's note and preface:

     When Kelly responded to these interview questions in his own form of "homonym-geous" speak, I asked him if he’d mind if I revise some words to reflect standard spelling and usage.
     Kelly’s response below explains his unique attitude about how words are art, too:

Hi Lorraine,
u will bee chopping the bile out of the Liver if u reduce it to comfortable
keep it real
its good to bee made uncomfortable in our lazy world
people mite ask "why?"
and that is art.


Are you ever tempted to lean toward more "classic" styles, or would that compromise or interfere with expression?
eye have no idea what classic means ... eye thought eye was classic?

Where does your art originate within you?
in a place of non-thinking. its quite mysterious and something beyond me eye think.

Do you generally plan paintings or are they wholly spontaneous?
immediate, raw, pure, occasionally insane. these are words eye like.

What started you painting in your 30s? Was it a single lightning bolt or a combination of factors?
it took a series of strong jolts in my life to "wake up." eye am a tough person and that can bee our largest challenge in the material world between ourselves and our higher self. surrender is an important part of my work.

Is painting compulsive for you - do you find you must paint?
eye have no other reason to live.

Do paintings ever come to you in your dreams?
my paintings are my dreams eye am just not sure if eye am dreaming when eye sleep or when eye think eye am "awake." which one is real?

What is a painting like the "Flower Picker" – the blue-hatted person in a stand of yellow tulips – all about?
eye have no idea.

What do you enjoy painting most?
cuts, bleeding, ruptures. tomorrow it will prolly bee flowers and children. eye am many things.

Please explain about the "light and dark in your soul" that you reveal in your art.
know thyself.

Article and interview copyright © 2006: L. Chrystal Dmitrovic

Kelly Moore's Gallery 2005-2006

Kelly Moore's Blog (musings and poetry)

Resumé of Showings/Exhibits


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