James Kelly’s work is full of potential energy, he said.
“It’s like the runner on the starting line,” said Kelly. “He’s there, he’s posed in his four-point position and he’s ready to go at the gun. If something clicked, these things would all move.”
For the first time, Kelly’s work has moved itself into the MAC for an exhibition of more than 20 acrylic paintings running until Dec. 2.
An abstract artist from Bowser who lets realism bleed into his work from time to time, Kelly said his work contains a host of things beyond their two-dimensional housings.
“To me, these things, they have a sound,” he said, with the shapes, their volumes and the lines he paints meant to impact each other and imply much more.
Of course, his own interpretation of his work is just one possibility, he said.
“The (viewer’s) own interpretation is more important,” he said. “I really truly hold the view that when I finish with it, it’s no longer mine, and it’s open to other people’s interpretation.”
But, for what it’s worth, here’s one of Kelly’s own interpretations on his piece, Swimmer.
Depicting one person watching another swimming with a red bird above, the painting is from a dream, he said.
“The scene in the painting, as long as you keep swimming and you sacrifice your concerns, you’ll be able to continue swimming,” he said.
“So the swimmer is watching himself and so the idea is give up your concerns, continue swimming and depend on your strength.” The red bird symbolizes those concerns.
The notion of sacrificing concerns, he said, includes the understanding that what a person worries about are also part of their identity.
But, that is just one interpretation of the work, he said.
Other themes to consider in the exhibit include looking at parts of images and how they are related or opposed to other parts, and the diversity of the exhibition itself, said Kelly, which reflects the diversity of a person’s own interests and concerns.
Asked what effect he hopes his work will have, Kelly said he hoped that viewers would open themselves up to letting themselves be moved by it in whatever way it might.
The exhibit runs at the MAC at 133 McMillan St. in Parksville until Dec. 2.
For more information, go to mcmillanartscentre.com/november-2017-exhibitions/.