Jo Kelley

Jo Kelley
Studio 1
10 May to 11 June 2022

I use forms of narration and allegory within my work with the suggestion of a performic event, a diorama, or a stage set. The characters, objects, and incidents are isolated in a particular moment, with no clear beginning, middle, or end. The lack of conclusion or definitive answer is inherent within this process. The fragmentary and less literal use of narration  offers a partial window, where meaning can shift and explanation is often open ended. 

The figures in my work are a gathering, operating in a non-specific arena and time. They operate and distort within this space and have a performic presence. The performers allude to theatre, myths, and fairy tales. Within the automaton, the mechanism inside the figure has concealed motive power which creates the illusion of life. Dolls and effigies have a votive strength, a presence, and an ambiguity which I have always found intriguing. There is often a psychological tension which underpins this hermetic world.

For my residency at Uillinn, I will investigate drawing using mixed media. New source material, observed and gathered, will originate from Skibbereen and the areas I’m staying in. I will also be using material already sourced, how this combines or doesn’t, is an interesting proposition.

Jo Kelley lives and works in Cork. She is a former member of Backwater Studios, and a present member of Cork Printmakers. She has exhibited within Ireland and internationally and has work in private and public collections. She is a retired member of staff from Crawford College of Art and Design where she taught Fine Art.


Image: Jo Kelley, Dress Rehearsal, mixed media on linen


WCAC acknowledges the financial support of the Arts Council and Cork County Council in making these residencies possible.


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