Artist’s innovative techniques create pieces that transcend traditional painting and sculpture

To look upon artist Daniel Kelly’s work is to engage in a study of dimensions and a test of one’s own visual perception. Blurring the lines between traditional notions of painting, print and sculpture, Kelly continually challenges and delights viewers with his use of unconventional materials and forms.

Based in Kyoto for over 35 years, Kelly is an American painter and printmaker who has received international acclaim for his innovative techniques to create bold imagery. Rather than painting on conventional flat canvases, Kelly builds the medium himself, sculpting natural materials — such as fibrous Nepalese paper and textured tatami and bamboo matting — onto wood panels that are then hardened with polyvinyl glue. The resulting paintings, better described as wall sculptures, literally project out into one’s visual space.

His prints, equally as layered and dimensional, incorporate lithography and woodblock on textured paper, along with collage attachments of pages from Edo Period books involving a process called chine-colle.

Throughout his career to present day, Kelly has never stopped experimenting, constantly examining new materials and challenging himself. With his high standard of craftsmanship, it is no surprise his works have found their way into the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Through May 8, the Tolman Collection, a gallery specializing in contemporary Japanese art, will be presenting an exhibition of Kelly’s works at the Conrad Hotel. Coinciding with Golden Week, the exhibition — aptly named Daniel Kelly’s Golden Touch — showcases a curated collection of Kelly’s painting and prints, including several large-scale pieces, extending up to 180 centimeters in length.

One particular piece, titled “Bold is Better,” depicting the burning of Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Temple, famously known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, serves as a representation of Kelly’s mastery as craftsman and artist. Boldly contrasting a black and white image of the temple, an angular portion of a brilliant golden frame protrudes out of the plane, slashing across the painting.

For sales information on the collection, inquiries can be made at the Tolman Gallery.