Kelly’s work gravitates around drawing and explores ideas of bodily interiority, emotional states, and the mind – body synergy. Her practice has taken the intersections between art, life, health and sport – in the recent past her work has taken a particular focus on the physical and psychological challenges of endurance running. Her present work deals with the potentially unsettling confrontation of the fragmented, broken body; issues of healing, perseverance and notions of liminality and transformation.
Recent work has investigated the notion of liminality the parallels between running and drawing. Her recent body of work Mind Fuel 2018 examined the physical and psychological challenges of ultra running and a 2013 body of work The Liminal Space of the Runner included experiments in running, drawing and mapping.
She has been the recipient of numerous awards (including Arts Council of Northern Ireland Visual Arts Award, 2017; Rowel Friers Perpetual Trophy; The Drawing Prize 132nd Royal Academy Exhibition, 2013; The Bass Ireland Award 2001; British Council Award 1999; EV+A Open Award, Adjudicator, Jan Hoet, Belgium 1994; First Prize, ‘Siolru’, RHA Gallagher Gallery, Dublin 1994; Alice Berger-Hammerschlag Trust Travel Award 1991; The Elizabeth Greenshield Foundation, Canada 1990).
Kelly’s work has been exhibited widely nationally and internationally since 1990 and is held in public and private collections in Ireland, Britain, and USA.
Alongside her studio-based practice, Kelly has undertaken many commissions and residencies:
The ACNI Fellowship at British School at Rome 2020
24 HR Race Artist in Residence 2018
Lifting The Veil 1994/5, site-specific project in hospital
4 Quartets 2009 with Maiden Voyage Dance
Landscapes of Loss 2017 a collaborative dance project exploring the physical and emotional territory of grief performed as part of the Triple Bill Dance Production at the MAC Belfast, March 2017.