The greatest thing on the black earth is a collection of new paintings on canvas and paper by Tom Kelly based on the lyric writing of the Greek poet Sappho. Despite her reputation as one of the greatest original voices in antiquity her work today survives in only a few complete poems and a selection of incomplete fragments of vivid imagery. The vagaries of time, censorship, translation and changing cultural perceptions have variously supressed and celebrated her work.
Using these fragments Kelly produces multiple visual representations of a single idea or literary metaphor to explore the area between a source of inspiration and its expression as visual art. The paintings in this show evoke worn wall surfaces whose original appearance has been altered by time, elements, reparation efforts, and re-surfacing.
Columbus based musician Keith Novicki will be on hand during the reception playing original compositions for guitar and improvisational variations based on loops, distortion and delay effects.
Tom Kelly is a self-taught visual artist living and working in Columbus, Ohio. His work has been shown regionally in independent arts spaces, art centers, museums, benefits, educational institutions and commercial galleries since 2004. In 2011 he was named a finalist for a Greater Columbus Arts Council Visual Arts Fellowship. The work in the greatest thing on the black earth was funded in part with an Artist in the Community Supply Grant, also from the Greater Columbus Arts Council.