David Kelley • Carl D'Alvia
may 7 - 29, 2004 
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The paintings of David Kelley and the sculpture of Carl D'Alvia co-exist like the perfect dysfunctional relationship; one is in search of a speaker the other in search of something to say, one in search of a body the other in search of an idea. Seemingly separated at birth their work shares characteristics that appear to be based in their material and process DNA. Both artists work engages via a mute cartoonish and ambiguous specificity that delves further than their subtly crafted surface funk. This often results in a questioning of the abilities of their respective medium’s histories. Hand-made post-pop they share the tension of appearing seamless but actually being relentlessly hand crafted. Comically/tragically they poignantly try to connect but ultimately exist in a hermetic world like children engaging in parallel play. Much information is displayed but most is lost in the translation, and in a darkly comic fashion all coalesces and disintegrates, unable to be translated.

Kelley’s painting suggest a desire for abstract shapes to speak. They often refer to and incorporate objects outside of their 2- dimensional perimeter negating any notion of trompe-l’oeil or traditional pictorialism. Any object nearby gets sucked into it’s orbit and becomes a related player. Sneakily they slowly purport to speak for everyone and simultaneously tell nothing, or at best, elicit chatter that needs to be deciphered.

D’Alvia’s sculptures encase and obviate speech within their furriness or have taken a posture displaying the secrecy of the sphinx. They contain too much information yet are oddly discrete and minimal. Simultaneously contained are contradictory themes such as minimal/baroque, beauty/brutality, and figuration/abstraction. It is the dialectical nature of these relationships that animates them.

This show provides a strategic opportunity for a playful relationship between these two bodies of work. Resulting conundrums challenge the viewer with moments of un-dialogue and non-narrative. The show creates a leveling of the playing field between 2D and 3D, high and low, mass and fine media. A theater of the absurd or perhaps optimistically a theater that is existential, yet somehow, simultaneously , with happy results.

Carl D'Alvia & David Kelley, 2004

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David Kelley



acrylic and gouache on canvas