John Woodrow Kelley: Portraits of Stone

March 16-April 29, 2016
EERDMANS 14 East 10th Street New York, NY 10003

Eerdmans Fine Art is pleased to present Portraits of Stone, a series of new paintings by American artist John Woodrow Kelley. It will run March 16 through April 29, 2016 with an opening reception Tuesday, March 15 (The Ides of March), from 6–8pm.

Portraits of Stone continues Kelley’s bold exploration of the contemporary meaningfulness of the classical tradition. Each painting is a portrait of a celebrated Ancient Greek or Roman sculpture, many of which have been copied and reproduced copiously for centuries as ideal models of Beauty. Kelley’s interpretations, at times full of pathos and at times surreal, are informed by the lens of today and raise interesting questions on originality, beauty, and humanism. Kelley states, “The Greek myths embody everything that is timeless about the human experience. They reveal truths and acknowledge mysteries. They survive in the subconscious of western man to the point that to learn about them is to experience a shock of recognition.”

John Woodrow Kelley was born in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1952. He dates the beginning of his interest in classicism to age six when his parents took him to the world’s only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in the capitol of his home state, Nashville. The proportions of the building, directly relating to those of the human body, and the plaster casts of the sculpture of Phidias inside, representing the fifth-century B.C. Greek canon of beauty, began his lifelong ambition to express the classical tradition in his work.

Kelley has exhibited internationally, including a 2004 major retrospective at The Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. He has received commissions from the Morgan Library, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and Yale University. Greek Mythology Now, a monograph of the artist’s work, was recently published in 2014. He divides his time between New York City and Knoxville.