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Curiously Grim: The Art of Eric Kelly


Sep 14, 2018 to Oct 6, 2018
10:00 AM until 05:00 PM

This event occurs daily, every 1 day(s).


Opening September 14, mixed media artist Eric Kelly transforms the Underground Gallery at Art Works Downtown, San Rafael, into an alternate universe Victorian art salon. Featuring set design and decor by Rodney Griffin of Le Mysterium Collective, “Curiously Grim: The Art of Eric Kelly” runs through October 6 in the basement of Art Work Downtown’s historic 1878 building. 


Drawing from his extensive collection of peculiar 19th century photography as well as classic public domain images, Eric Kelly uses digital processing to combine and transform antique images into surreal dreamscapes and assemblages. He constructs the artwork in layers of metal leaf, digital prints, found objects, and resin, mounted on wooden panels or antique printers trays. Some of his artworks use multiple layers of clear resin to float images and objects in three dimensional space, creating the illusion of being suspended in liquid. 


The end result can be unsettling, with the viewer finding themselves face to face with the unflinching gaze of portrait sitters long since forgotten, but now revivified within a strange dream tableau. Described as “curiously grim” by SF Station, his art can also be darkly humorous – one print series transforms unintentionally absurd old photos into storybook illustrations, complete with florid Victorian-style captions.


Resembling a theater set more than the whitewashed space of a typical art gallery, the installation showcasing the art is designed by Rodney Griffin, for many years associated with the Edwardian Ball, and a founding member of Le Mysterium Art Collective. His whimsical lamps, often with antique cameras as the base, perform dual duty as gallery lighting and decor.


Eric Kelly studied art at California College of Arts and Crafts, and over the years explored lithography, paper making, traditional collage, drawing, graphic arts and commercial design. Although he now uses sophisticated digital imaging, his artwork remains rooted in tangible, meticulously assembled materials, and harkens back to an era when the boundaries between fine art, craft and decoration were less strongly drawn than today.


Opening reception for Curiously Grim: The Art of Eric Kelly is Friday, September 14, 2018, 5–8pm, Underground Gallery, Art Works Downtown, San Rafael, CA. 


The reception coincides with the 2nd Friday Artwalk, the monthly downtown San Rafael art stroll featuring galleries, open studios, art exhibits, live music and refreshments. 


Art Works Downtown:

1337 Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901

Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm

Web: http://www.artworksdowntown.org

Phone: 415-451-8119

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArtWorksDowntown.SanRafael




View map Art Works Downtown
1337 Fourth Street
San Rafael, CA

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Eric Kelly



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Eric Kelly

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