Updated: Jan 25
Works by John C Kelley
January 7-29, 2022
Thousands of Years II, 2017, Video with sound, 1min 23 sec
2012,Video with Sound, 2 min 13 sec
Safety 2013, Video with Sound, 6 min 35 sec
Drum Solo 2017, Video with Sound, 4 min
GUSTER 2018, Animation with Sound, 4 min 23 sec
Starfire 2019, Animation with Music, Music by Kevin Blagg, 3 min 50 sec
A Family that Steals Dogs 2020, Animation with Sound, 7 min 30 sec
Total Runtime: 30min 47sec
Trying to Describe “The Work” in 2022: In writing artist statements, I’ve had trouble with the word “examine." To me, it implies order, purpose, and intellectual curiosity. I’m afraid that isn’t the way the work happens at all. Lately, I feel the better word is “encounter” –my work “encounters” technology, family, identity, personal darkness and the American South. “Encounter” suggests that the meeting is unexpected, maybe hostile. Making the work is more like that. I hope that the experience of the work is like that too-like finding a wild animal in a suburban front yard: out-of-place, somehow beautiful and feral. So then, I guess, the work is like a void –and I’m describing the edges of it. Let me explain: Sometimes, after it gets dark I’ll stand in the backyard while the dog sniffs around. When she gets way down towards the back of the yard, I can’t really see her anymore. It’s too dark. I can only hear her. I noticed at some point that I can actually see her better if I look off to the side –then she comes into focus somehow. For a moment, she only exists in the periphery. Is that tragic? I’m not so sure. The surreal rarely overlaps with the tragic, outside of maybe David Lynch or a prestige horror movie. Or rather, are they innately related? Is tragedy intrinsically uncanny in the way it enters and exits our lives without meaning? Okay, then maybe the work is reaching the back of the yard; a disappearance.
John C Kelley (b. 1981, Arkansas) is an artist living in Knoxville, TN. His award-winning work in film and animation have screened in international film festivals around the world including the Slamdance Film Festival, GLAS Animation Festival, the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the London International Animation Festival and many others. His recent animated short GUSTER (2019) received a “Staff Pick” from Vimeo.com, the Animated Grit award from Indie Grits Film Fest, and the Jury’s Citation Award from the Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival.A Family that Steals Dogs (2020), received a “Staff Pick” from Vimeo.com, won “Best 2D Animation by an Independent Animator” and “Best 2D Animation Overall” from the Florida Animation Festival, The Golden Hat Award for Best International Short at Animattikon in Cyprus, Best Sound Design at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, and was nominated for Best Animation Short at Raindance Film Fest in London. His Looping video and sound installations have been exhibited at the Spartanburg Art Museum in South Carolina, the CICA Museum in Ginpo-si South Korea, in gallery spaces at Unrequited Leisure in Nashville, Troppus Projects in Kent, Ohio and many others. Kelley has written music for feature films and commercial work with Gray Picture in St. Louis, and released music on King Electric Records in Austin, TX. He has been an artist-in-residence at Cow House Studios in Ireland and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences in Georgia.