Moira Kelly: Diamonds and Rust


Please join us on July 23rd from 6-8 pm for a reception for Diamonds and Rust, an exhibition of works by artist Moira Kelly. The show will be on view from July 21-August 21.

Trained as both a painter and an art conservator, Moira Kelly’s work is grounded in an extensive knowledge of historical materials and processes. Her love of the physical aspects of art—the spreading of paint, the resonance of color, the patient layering of plaster over wood—give the pieces, despite their small size, a compelling presence. Kelly layers wood, plaster, tempera, oil and wax to create surfaces full of unexpected textures. These surfaces reflect a connection to ancient and natural forms, like the craggy rocks of the English countryside, and the cool, fragile surfaces of Italian frescoes.

Equally present is the influences of textile. Working within simple, economical boundaries—making a mark, then responding to that mark with another—she crafts geometric patterns in subdued hues of blue, red, white, and ochre. For Kelly, immediacy is essential for both making and viewing, each pieces’ approachable size and varied textures invite the viewer to not only look, but to touch.

Born in the northeast of England in the 1950s, Moira Kelly studied art history and painting with Richard Hamilton, Joseph Beuys and her fellow student, Sean Scully. She also studied art conservation in Germany and Italy before moving to New York City in the 1970s to work as an art restorer. She was the director of two contemporary art galleries in London before becoming the director of The Lawndale Art and Performance Center in Houston. She now has an independent art and furniture restoration company.