For the month of December the downstairs gallery of Metro Pictures will house Mike Kelley's recent series of black and white photographs. Although Kelley chooses to conceal the identity of his subject, these 13 portraits of amorphous blobs have an unmistakable organic character. Their biomorphic form is at once abstract and familiar, obscure and referential.
Produced by Patrick Painter Editions, Inc., the photographs comprise an edition of five and measure 31 x 22 1/2 inches each. Central to each photograph is a form seen against a mottled, indistinct grey ground. Glamorously lit, the blobs resemble dense networks of hairs and fibers. Kelley suggests the result of the language of biomorphic abstraction leaving the exclusive sphere of high modernism and expanding into the realm of popular imagination.
Although it is tempting to speculate on the nature of the substance depicted, Kelley is truly interested in the reading of its form. Kelley's focus on non-specific form can be traced back to his series of garbage drawings and large floor pieces where knitted afghans cover unseen lump-like objects and where the baggage of the ordinary and the pretension of art conventions collide.
Mike Kelley's work has addressed issues of gender, class, morality, and taste as defined by American values and social structures. A mid-career survey of his work, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, has traveled to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and will open at the Haus der Kunst in Munich in January 1995. Metro Pictures looks forward to presenting a significant body of Mike Kelley's new work in the spring of 1995.