Ryan Kelly

Join the Art Department for a talk with artist Ryan Kelly on Thursday, May 21 at 6-7pm PST.

Zoom Meeting ID: 986 9651 1589

Zoom Link:  https://eou.zoom.us/j/98696511589


My work comes into being through a great deal of non-linear or associative research, tangential explorations and an abiding love of the object, the well made, properly made, appropriate object. Just as much it is informed by a childhood spent exploring the cramped, overstuffed homes of elderly midwestern relatives, filled with books, curios and artifacts from their long lives. While my work may have a familiarity in expression or form, there is a half-cocked dream logic to the entirety. I am returning to these spaces in my dreams to interrogate these objects for their stories.

Borrowing my subjects as I do from existing sources, I need to gain as much ownership of the work as I can. This manifests itself in my laboring over these projects, beginning to end, in every aspect. Every decision of refinement or finish, material choice, action or inaction belongs to me. In this Whitmanesque spirit, ‘out of the cradle endlessly rocked’ by a craft based work ethic, I feel the need to come to my finished product honestly, through the work of my own hand.


Ryan W. Kelly holds a BFA in Ceramics from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from The Ohio State University. His work ranges from performance and video to object-based installations. He draws inspiration from American mythology, historical inaccuracies and the curious storytelling that finds its way into our material culture and decorative arts. He celebrates the myopic strangeness often preserved in our souvenirs, monuments, and commemorations.

Ryan was hired in fall 2016 by Western Washington University to head their Ceramics program. Previously he was a Visiting Professor at The Ohio State University in Ceramics and Foundations. Prior to that he lived and worked in Philadelphia, where he was a resident artist at The Clay Studio; a recipient of an Independence Foundation Fellowship, and a co-curator at Practice Gallery. His collaborations in dance and theater include credits in the Green Porno series by Isabella Rossellini.