ellsworth kelly
Photo: © Jack Shear via The Guardian

On 27 December 2015, Ellsworth Kelly passed away at the age of 92, at home in Spencertown, near New York. Kelly had a profound influence on Modern art in America, bridging the gap between European and American artistic ideologies of his time.

Spectrum Colours Arranged By Chance II
‘Spectrum Colors Arranged By Chance II (1951)’ ; Photo: Courtesy of MoMA, © 2015 Ellsworth Kelly

Having lived in France during the days of Abstract Expressionism’s reign over American art, Kelly cited Picasso and Matisse as some of his influences. As a result, Kelly’s work embodies both abstract experimentation with geometric shapes and solid colours, as well as the Surrealist technique of automatic drawing.

Focusing closely on our sensory perception of the world, Kelly manifests the beauty of sight in his paintings and sculptures. By capturing a brief moment in time, he played with the paradox of a fixed object representing the transient nature of visualising light, colours, and shadows.

untitled sculpture ellsworth kelly
‘Untitled (2005)’ ; Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Marks Gallery

He was heavily influenced by the idea of using chance as a formal component in his practise, as many of the geometric shapes were inspired by shadowy figures cast by light against architectural structures. Kelly explored the relationships between art, nature, and architecture, in a way intended to capture day-to-day visual encounters with flux.

Kelly is survived by his husband, photographer Jack Shear, and a brother, David.

By Tanvi Rajvanshi