I see sculpture as an ongoing dialogue between many things. Material, form, substance, light / shadow, time / space & content. Sculpture is curiosity made visible in three dimensions...with additional dimension or two added to it. The dimension of time, and one of imagination. At what point does a shape, a form co-exist within the viewer as well as in the world, in the imagination. What chords, or resonance within a person does this sculpture create, what does it represent?
The first part of my practice is always experimenting. I currently work in a variety of ways. I have a large outbuilding on my property I work in daily. I experiment with a variety of materials, wood, steel, fiberglass, tape, plastic - the list is expanding. I am driven to create. I make sculptures based on a dialogue with the materials, and with my imagination, sometimes form appear in a drawing, and I am inspired to make them real.
The second part of my practice is conceiving of pieces I haven't seen created before, in larger scale, for public spaces and as part of larger installations. I do this through drawing and then doing what I call rough renderings on my computer. In addition, once I create the renderings I research how they could be done and connect with vendors I think would be right for the project. Being a creative director in digital design I know how to work with teams on large creative projects. I collaborate with architects, planners, galleries, museums, designers & developers to create large scale, unique sculptural forms and experiences for public, private and corporate spaces.
The other aspect of this is surprise. I'd say surprise & delight. There's an element of surprise when something you create something that has never before existed in the world until you created it. This phase of creation is the phase in which what you made is still brand new to you, it has been born out of you, before it didn't exist, and now it does, part of you but separate. This phase is a time to step back and savor, to appreciate what you have made. What does it say to you. Where will it love? What is its larger context of being? The larger context can be your studio, a community, a network, the artworld so to speak, your audience. In the act of following through on this vision you engage with the larger audience, and the resonance of what you create can be found here as well.
Sculpture for me is an inquiry into the deep mysterious nature of things. When utilitarian use is taken away from an object, a series of objects or forms, what remains? Another artist once said, 'Sculpture is a journey of curiosity made visible’ - which I agree with. I like the idea of taking basic, elemental shapes and inflating them, altering them, stacking and shaping them. Once I’m done with one piece I usually have ideas for several others. The amount of variety that can be produced by moving one or 2 shapes through space is amazing. I like taking say 3 basic forms and uncovering all the possibilities of how it can be arranged. Then there’s material, which adds another layer of interpretation and process.
The visual expression I try to achieve is one that is open to interpretation. In one piece someone may see something playful, or whimsical, in another it may feel menacing. Think of these huge, non utilitarian forms, set down in the midst of our busy world, which accelerates even more every year. The sculpture may get in your way, may interrupt your path. Does it make you stop? Does it make you wonder?
I believe my work can create a dialogue about what it means to make things. That it can engage through its presence in a space, that otherwise might be left to chance. It has purposeful and intelligent thought behind it.
My main influences initially in art school were the formal steel sculptors David Smith, and Anthony Caro, sculptors of the New York School and Abstract Expressionists. For the last 20 years or so, after art school I made my living as a digital designer, as I wasn't able to set up a studio space to make sculpture until a few years ago. Since getting back into sculpting my influences have greatly expanded to be more informal, multi material, inspired by the likes of Richard Deacon, Phyllida Barlow, Tony Cragg, as well Franz West, Martin Puryear, Jay Kelly, Mel Kendrick Thomas Kiesewetter & Misha Kahn. Less limited by specific materials I feel open to explore work in many forms, material and formats. I still seek to master the craft, but I don't want to limit my creative exploration or ideas based on a specific material.
Ken Kelleher is an American sculptor born in 1968.
He studied art at Alfred University under sculptors Glenn Zweygardt and William Parry. After college he worked at Hudson Studio, Fine Art Foundry in Niverville, NY where he did finishing work on cast bronze pieces by William Tucker and Anthony Caro, as well as other artists. Hudson Studio was in a shared space at the time with sculptor Jon Isherwood and is in close proximity to Triangle Workshop. The area has a concentration of artists and sculptors starting in the 1950's with David Smith, Kenneth Noland and others setting up residence in driving range of NYC and Bennington College.
Before becoming a Creative Director in Advertising he produced several series of large abstract found object pieces, some of which were sold into private collections. Now twenty years later, Ken has returned to having a full time studio practice. He lives and works with his wife of 25 years at Rehoboth in NH.