PCS Blog

Armory Gallery Exhibit: Patrick Kelly’s “mirari”

Posted by Megan Harned | 18 February 2014

Patrick Kelly, Black Angle (Edition of 5), 2014 (detail), Graphite on paper, 15 x 22 in.

Just last week PDX was so inundated with snow that PCS called off four performances; yet, on my way to the coffee shop to type this I noticed crocuses and daffodils in my neighbors’ yards.  Winter melts into spring so quickly it’s a challenge to say where one begins and the other ends. While it may seem passé to use a natural metaphor to discuss art and theater, I insist on introducing the current studio exhibition and production by quoting Albert Camus: “In the depths of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer.”  

On display in the studio lobby galleries through March 15th, Patrick Kelly’s mirari series was created through a process of repetitive tracing to build up the graphite. After enough repetitions he shifts the pivot to begin again in a new direction, ceasing only when the layering of his process and medium overcomes the flatness of the picture plane.  The series was originally created as a whole work, and only when complete was it divided and framed. Each singular composition disturbs our perception through the formal contrast of curvilinear and angled lines, which taken together create the illusion of depth.

Viewing the result of this process is akin to walking a labyrinth:  only by traversing its twists and turns can we arrive at the center. Therefore disorientation is the way to clarity. The mirari series requires us to look through the disjointed pieces in order to arrive at an understanding of the work as whole. Along the same lines, Bo-Nita utilizes a piecemeal narrative to grow our understanding and empathy for the characters.

A one-woman show told from the perspective of a thirteen year old girl, Bo-Nita’s character transitions are as swift as the audience’s experience of hilarity and heartbreak as they listen to a day in her life. The labyrinthine plot spirals around the gap between how highly we aspire to love and how deeply we manage to fail. Luring us into their lives like a distant siren, the story illustrates how quickly we can veer from where we dreamed ourselves until we’re too far to return from our origin. 

Similarly Patrick Kelly’s mirari series coils and undulates before the viewer the way a mirage shimmers in the distance. Sometimes our striving is rewarded with an oasis; while others are left parched in the desert.  If you’re willing to examine the illusions that all too often define how we perceive our lives and others, I recommend you get tickets before Bo-Nita closes on March 16. In the meantime I hope you'll stop by the Gerding Theater for our receptions with the artists for Patrick Kelly’s mirari, and Victoria Reynold’s Interior Satellites on Saturday, February 22 in the lobby galleries.


Bo-Nita runs through March 16 in the Ellyn Bye Studio. Tickets available HERE.
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