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. Just as much it is informed by a childhood spent exploring the cramped, overstuffed homes of elderly midwestern relatives, filled with books, curios and artifacts from their long lives. While my work may have a familiarity in expression or form, there is a half-cocked dream logic to the entirety. I am returning to these spaces in my dreams to interrogate these objects for their stories. Borrowing my subjects as I do from existing sources, I need to gain as much ownership of the work as I can. This manifests itself in my laboring over these projects, beginning to end, in every aspect. Every decision of refinement or finish, material choice, action or inaction belongs to me. In this Whitmanesque spirit, ‘out of the cradle endlessly rocked’ by a craft based work ethic, I feel the need to come to my finished product honestly, through the work of my own hand.
Ryan W. Kelly is an Associate Professor in WWU’s Art & Art History Department, teaching Ceramics and 3-D Foundations. Prior to that he lived and worked in Philadelphia, where he was a resident artist at The Clay Studio; a recipient of an Independence Foundation Fellowship, and a co-curator at Practice Gallery. His collaborations in dance and theater include credits in the Green Porno series by Isabella Rossellini.