Lee Kelly has been a prominent member of the Portland art community for over 50 years. A frequent traveler, his work is often influenced by his experiences in Mexico, Tibet, Japan, Nepal, New Zealand, and many other locations. Best known for his monumental public sculptures, Maquettes provides an exciting glimpse into Kelly’s process. The gallery will be exhibiting several of his small bronze and Cor-ten studies, some of which have been or will be made into large-scale works. A pair of these larger pieces will also be on view in the gallery, giving some insight into the ways Kelly formally conceptualizes his work, and how those ideas are translated into an architectural scale.
Born in 1932 in McCall, Idaho, Lee Kelly began his artistic life as a painter, and in 1959 graduated from the Museum Art School at the Portland Art Museum, now known as the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Kelly’s long and prestigious career, and prolific nature have resulted in a significant body of work which can be seen in public and private collections throughout the country, including at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, Stanford University in California, New Orleans Art Museum in Louisiana, Seattle Art Museum in Washington and the City of Sapporo in Japan. As one of the most recognized artists in the Northwest, his modernist sculptures are a central focus at regional institutions such as Reed College, Marylhurst University, Oregon State University, Catlin Gabel School, the Oregon Health and Sciences University, and the Washington Park Rose Garden. Kelly has been exhibiting at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery since the early 1980s. In 2010 he was the subject of a major career retrospective at the Portland Art Museum.