The Salt House is an exhibition of new work by Sharon Kelly which grew from her discovery of a box of small black & white photographs taken by Kelly’s parents in the early 1960’s.
The title image offers multiple versions of an out-of-bounds building housing piles of salt, situated at a railway track across the field from where the artist grew up in the West Country, England. Memories of the salt house became the catalyst for pondering the past. Kelly has drawn on memory and recollections to explore ideas around the nature of personal memory, space and childhood. The resonance of salt in the process of preservation is significant for Kelly. The form of the salt house is suspended within an imaginary world. Contouring a form through charcoal reveals a ‘negative space’, what is invisible can be made visible through drawing. The Salt House draws together subject matter, materials and process.
Kelly’s practice focuses and gravitates around drawing, incorporating moving image, stop-motion animation, painting and print. She often explores themes relating to the human condition; experience, memory, presence, absence and loss in her work. The idea of how we remember as we age and the intimate associations of daily toil, processes and structures is explored through everyday objects such as the clothes horse / airer and the fabric surface of a tea towel.
About the Artist: Sharon 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. Selected Solo Exhibitions include: Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, 2018; Draíocht, Blanchardstown Dublin 2018; Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast 2013; PS2, Paragon Studios, Belfast 2012; Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast 2004; The Fenderesky Gallery, Belfast 2004; The Market Place, Armagh 2001; Berry College, Mount Berry, Georgia, USA 1999; Ormeau Baths Gallery, Belfast 1998. She has been the recipient of numerous awards (including Arts Council of Northern Ireland Visual Arts Award, 2017; Rowel Friers Perpetual Trophy and The Drawing Prize 132nd Royal Academy Exhibition, 2013. She has just been awarded the 2020 Fellowship at the British School at Rome.