Diarmuid Kelley: Recent Paintings

Diarmuid Kelley: Recent Paintings

Offer Waterman Gallery

Diarmuid Kelley, Edith Piaf (said it better than me), 2019. Oil on linen, 52 x 59 7/8 inches. Courtesy Offer Waterman Gallery.

November 5, 2019
Diarmuid Kelley
Recent Paintings
November 7–30, 2019
Opening: November 7, 6–8pm
Stellan Holm Gallery
1018 Madison Avenue
New York NY

Offer Waterman Gallery announces the debut New York exhibition of paintings by Diarmuid Kelley, November 7–30, 2019. The exhibition, Recent Paintings, will feature more than 20 of the artists signature large-scale portraits and still lifes, taking over Stellan Holm at 1018 Madison Avenue. Recent Paintings marks the first solo exhibition by the acclaimed British artist outside of London and the gallery’s first independent presentation in New York.

“I’m thrilled to present Kelley’s work to New York,” states gallerist Offer Waterman. “There is a strong market for figurative painting and Kelley’s recent paintings have resonated with collectors, this will be a prime opportunity for his New York audience to discover the works in person for the first time.”

“In my recent works, I’ve been experimenting with different color combinations, which I’m excited to debut in New York,” states Diarmuid Kelley. “Central to my work is that I make images that are incomplete—fragments of an interior, ones that may include a sitter, or a figure, but only as part of an overall scheme; a collage of different patterns, textures and colors.”

Celebrated for an innovative studio practice and figurative painting that references Renaissance masters, contemporary photography, and cinematic mise-en-scene, Kelley is a master of painting and capturing the expression of light. The more than 20 works in Recent Paintings showcase Kelley’s singular process and prowess for figurative painting and traditional disciplines, which made him a standout in his generation of British artists.

Working from his rooftop London studio, Kelley uses a custom-built box with a window to frame his sitters and heighten the play of darkness and light. Kelley begins his painting process by creating a carefully orchestrated “stage” for his subjects to inhabit. With utmost attention to detail including color, texture, and pattern, a mise-en-scene is carefully crafted to become a third character in his work. In Kelley’s hands, humble and ephemeral objects, from fruit to autumn leaves, inhabit a silent but eloquent space in time and are portrayed with a rigorous observation of color and form.

His subjects range from public figures, including an official portrait commission of HRH the Duchess of Cornwall and Sir Richard Thompson for The Royal College of Physicians, to the personal, with many of his friends sitting for the larger works that can take many months to complete.

Kelley came to prominence at the age of 23, as the youngest ever recipient of Britain’s prestigious NatWest Art Prize in 1995. Coming of age in the YBA generation, Kelley’s work was distinguished for its rigorously traditional practice working from live models and dedication to figurative painting. Offer Waterman has represented Kelley since 1998 and this will be his 9th solo exhibition with the gallery.

Recent Paintings will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue featuring an interview with Professor of Fine Art Liz Rideal of the University College, London’s Slade School of Fine Art. The exhibition will be on view at Stellan Holm 1018 Madison Avenue, Monday–Saturday, 10am–6pm.

About Offer Waterman
Offer Waterman opened his first gallery in Chelsea, London in 1996. Now based in a five-storey Georgian townhouse in the heart of Mayfair, the gallery has developed an international reputation for handling the best examples of 20th century and contemporary British art. This is reflected in the gallery’s exhibition programme which has featured both British and international artists. Recent projects include Frank Auerbach, Early Works in 2012, David Hockney, Early Drawings in 2015, Robert Rauschenberg, Transfer Drawings in 2016 and William Turnbull, New Worlds, Words, Signs and Alison Wilding, Acanthus Asymmetrically in 2017. The gallery is a sponsor of the forthcoming exhibition Lucian Freud: The Self-Portraits which opens at the Royal Academy of Arts in London on October 27.

About Diarmuid Kelley
Born in Stirling in 1972, Diarmuid Kelley grew up in the north of England. He studied Fine Art at Newcastle University, graduating in 1995. He was the youngest artist ever to win the prestigious Nat West Art Prize at the age of 23, in the same year, he graduated from Newcastle. He went on to earn a Masters degree at Chelsea College of Art and Design. His work features in a variety of esteemed collections and institutions, notably the National Portrait Gallery, London; Chatsworth House; the private collection of Steven Spielberg; HRH The Prince of Wales; the Duke of Devonshire; and the private collection of Lord Allen of Kensington and Michael Fisher.

Kelley has a long association with Offer Waterman Gallery, having had eight previous solo-exhibitions at the gallery. His work has regularly featured in the BP Portrait Award held at the National Portrait Gallery, London, and he has recently participated in a number of other group exhibitions including The Figure, Browse & Darby, London, Hinterland, Thomas Williams, London and Illuminate, Jasmine Studios, Hammersmith, London.

Media contact 
Sarah Brown McLeod, sarah [​at​] sarahbrownmcleod.com

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November 5, 2019

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