The Silent Encounter – The Life of Famous Artist Ellsworth Kelly

Ellsworth Kelly sits at the painting wall in his 15,000-square-foot Spencertown, NY, studio. Photograph by Annie Leibovitz. (Via Vanity Fair).

The work of Ellsworth Kelly (born May 31, 1923 – died December 27th 2015).

Ellsworth Kelly who heralded a new era of minimalism and has made his name and place in history with simplicity, bright vibrant colors of ordinary shapes and empty spaces between objects.

Kelly passed away at 92 years on December 27th 2015 at home in Spencertown, New York.

He first rose to critical acclaim in the 1950s with his bright, multi-paneled and largely monochromatic canvases.

Kelly has described his works as elements that one encounters.

Minimalism really is a silent encounter and it speaks a different language from other art forms. It does not reveal itself as always evident such as realistic paintings that tell obvious stories. Nor does it loudly proclaim what to believe. Abstract work and minimalism simply presents a form, maybe a shadow based on a negative space. It presents a a nuance; it’s allusive and it allows the viewer to make the connection.

Kelly has been persistent in his art form staying true to his foundation the focus on the dynamic relationships between shape, form and color. His works of color vibrate energy between positive and negative spaces. Simple in shape and form, however energetic with color and contrast.

In addition, Kelly was one of the first artists to create irregularly shaped canvases. His subsequent layered reliefs, flat sculptures, and line drawings further challenged viewers’ conceptions of space.

Although Kelly may be better known for his paintings, he has also worked at sculpture throughout his career. Kelly creates his pieces using a succession of ideas on various forms. He may start with a drawing, enhance the drawing to create a print, take the print and create a freestanding piece, which is then made into a sculpture.

Kelly’s sculptures are meant to be entirely simple and can be viewed quickly, often only in one glance. The viewer observes smooth, flat surfaces that are secluded from the space that surrounds them. This sense of flatness and minimalism makes it hard to tell the difference between the foreground and background.

Kelly’s work is found in auctions and galleries worldwide and is one of the few abstract artists that has produced consistency for over seven decades.

Photography Sebastian Kim Ellsworth Kelly in Spencertown, New York, August 2011.
Photography Sebastian Kim
Ellsworth Kelly in Spencertown, New York, August 2011.

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"Ellsworth Kelly: Red Green Blue" at the Whitney Museum, with Red Blue (1963) (left) and Red Green Blue (1964)
“Ellsworth Kelly: Red Green Blue” at the Whitney Museum,
with Red Blue (1963) (left) and Red Green Blue (1964)
Ellsworth Kelly, Orange Diagonal 2008 Oil on canvas, two joined panels 87 1/4 x 60
Ellsworth Kelly, Orange Diagonal 2008 Oil on canvas, two joined panels 87 1/4 x 60
Spectrum V, 1969, Ellsworth Kelly
Spectrum V, 1969, Ellsworth Kelly

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