Exhibition at the Red Head Gallery, Toronto, 2014
Text by Alan Sondheim
1. Machinery shudders, is shattered in Kelk's recent work; the six largest pieces contain box-like openings breaking through the surface, which are reminiscent of funerary niches. Three of the six are empty; the other three contain Pennsylvanian anthracite coal, a broken cup, and a charred pillar. The connotations are of a space potentially leading downwards, a false entrance into a pyramid, a grave, and the burial of the natural. Odd that the machinic doesn't pull the pieces into a Charles Sheeler-sheen; instead, the clarity of engineering is subverted by an expressionism that insists on the blurring of boundaries between body and machine, hand- gesture and machine-shop. The latter is brought home as well in the two large sculptured heads with swarf (machine tailings); the swarf itself is expressive and organic - the result of peelings from presumably finished, hardened parts.