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Jerry Kellems Acrylic Painting of Abstract Figures

Item Details

Jerry Quinton Kellems (American, 1942 – 2010)
Untitled (abstract figures)
Acrylic painting on canvas board, Acrylic painting on canvas
Signed to the lower right

Known for his graphic compositions with geometric shapes and vibrant colors, artist Jerry Kellems specialized in paintings that often feature a textural element as he layered his surfaces with dotted pigments. He explained that marks and lines are important building blocks in his compositions, as marks form color and lines define volume. Influenced by Pre-Columbian art and artists George Grosz (German,1893-1959), Alfred Kubin (Austrian, 1877-1959), sculptor H.C. Westerman (American, 1922-1981), and cartoonist George Herriman (American, 1880-1944), much of Kellems technique and content also recalls Aboriginal art, visible in his use of dots, patterned borders, and biomorphic shapes.

Born in Arkansas in 1941, Jerry Kellems spent his childhood in Saint Louis, where he first became interested in drawing. His high school years were spent in Minnesota, where he also attended art school for a brief period. He eventually found his way to the Navy, where he was enlisted from 1963-1967, and though he left the service, the sea became his way of life and he spent the next few decades working on Hydrographic ships. This distance from everyday society allowed Kellems to develop his unique artistic style.

Kellems explained in his book Figments published in 1987, that his compositions are figments of his imagination, many of which integrate humor in various ways. However, he welcomed viewers’ diverse and varied interpretations of his unique work.


- spots of paper fibers adhered across the surface of the painting; abrasions and scuff marks to the edges.


28.25" W x 21.75" H x 0.25" D

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