Juan Kelly: Perceptions from Light and Structures

10 - 26 May 2019

Nüart Gallery presents, Perceptions from Light and Structures, a solo exhibition of new oil paintings by the artist Juan Kelly. The exhibition will run May 10th through May 26th, with an opening reception on Friday, May 10th, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. Please join us for hors d'oeuvres and live music.  An artist talk and musical performance by Kayden Kelly will directly precede the opening at 4pm. 

* email or call to reserve your seat(s) for the art talk and performance *


Juan Kelly is known for paintings that challenge our perception of reality and which present a world filled with metaphor and visual creativity. In his work the viewer is transported beyond expected conventions. Utilizing elements and formal techniques of old master paintings, Kelly constructs an enigmatic environment that confronts the viewer’s penchant for the familiar. Kelly’s subject matter mines the fertile territory of the collective unconscious and his themes unfurl in layers of subtlety and double entendres. His vast compositions are powerful in their impact while at the same time delicate in the weave of their nuance. Throughout his work Kelly explores the timeless circularity of human nature and allows the viewer to contemplate their desires in the grand scheme of existence.


In this exhibition Kelly brings forward the entirety of the figurative elements and spatial structures in his paintings to create images with multiple perceptual points of view; where all the components play a fundamental role in the overall composition. The paintings feature familiar subjects from the artist’s visual vernacular, notably horses, cows, and lions. But beyond the usual romantic depictions in art in which animals are represented as pets or as exotic beasts, Kelly uses animals as allegorical proxies for human affairs. They also function as purely compositional elements selected for their shape, mass, line, color, etc. to express feelings that speak nonverbally to the viewer’s emotions. The overall construction creates a structural choreography that borrows shapes from the neighboring objects in the painting to produce secondary and tertiary abstracted structures, executed with simplicity and a touch of musicality.


With a career and a loyal following that extends over three decades, Kelly has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums throughout Europe, the United States, and Latin America. His work can be found in major collections around the world. He is originally from Costa Rica where he is recognized as one of that country’s great living artists. He currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.