"The two pillars that hold up my work are magic and movement. For me painting is a world with its own laws and logic that can be ruled by universal principles." — Juan Kelly
Juan Kelly paints a magical world suffused with visual metaphor. Challenging our perceptions of reality, Kelly’s artwork refuses to offer tidy resolutions to the questions posed. Utilizing the formal elements and techniques of old master paintings, Kelly constructs a enigmatic world that confronts our penchant for the familiar. Transported beyond stereotypical convention, Juan Kelly’s paintings mine the fertile territory of our collective subconscious and introduce us to layers of nuance and double entendres.
Metaphors and archetypes play a central role in Kelly’s painting. Assembling an unlikely couterie of animals and settings, the artist alludes to our subconscious experience as well as our keenest moments of self-realization. Kelly’s use of archetypal imagery in combination with masterful compositional motifs, catapults us into a realm abundant with possibility. Kelly’s use of rich, jewel-like colors saturate the fruit, foliage and drapery so often found in his work. In his hands, paint is transformed into an ebullient luster, infusing each element with a luscious sensuality.
Juan Kelly was born and grew up in Costa Rica and is currently living in the US. He is highly esteemed in his native country where his artwork is in major museums, including the Presidential Collection and Museo de Arte Costarricense. Over the last 30 years, Kelly has exhibited work extensively throughout Europe, the United States and Latin America.
Kelly’s oil paintings can be found in over 300 private collections.