Painter receives Antarctic Arts Fellowship

John Kelly painting in the field
John Kelly painting in the field. Photo: Oscar Kelly
John KellyJohn Kelly

Australian painter and sculptor John Kelly is the 2013 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow.

Each year, the Australian Government awards an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship to enable those with a non-science focus to experience Antarctica first-hand so that they may communicate this unique experience and understanding to other Australians.

John Kelly was chosen from a highly competitive field and will travel to Antarctica in October for three months.

Mr Kelly said he will use his fellowship to create a series of paintings depicting the Antarctic environment.

“My project will be a direct painterly response to the unique, wild and beautiful Antarctic landscape,” Mr Kelly said.

“The work will all be done ‘en plein air’ with a field easel and oil paint on linen, using what I call a ‘look and put’ method, where I attempt to bring back a record of my visual response to the landscapes without embellishment.”

Mr Kelly currently lives in Ireland, but spent most of his life in Australia after his family emigrated from England the year he was born.

He has exhibited around the world, in many prestigious festivals and galleries and his work is held in art institutions throughout Australia and in France.

He is best known for his paintings and large sculptures of William Dobell’s cows – papier-mâché animals used during World War II to confuse enemy aircraft as to the location of Australian airbases.

Mr Kelly plans to exhibit the work from his fellowship at galleries in Australia, England and Ireland.

He will also share his Antarctic experience through articles he will write for newspapers, and at events where he will speak about his trip.

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