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 Gordon Ray Kelly  (1924 - )

About: Gordon Ray Kelly


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Lived/Active: Indiana/Maryland      Known for: religious theme and portrait painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information about Gordon Ray Kelly was submitted by Mark Kelly, son of the artist:

Born 1924 in Wells, County Indiana.

Served in Army Air Corps in WWII in chemical warfare unit.

Studied in the 1940s at the Art Students League in New York under Kenneth Hayes Miller.

Served as instructor for 1 year at Art Students League.

Had religious conversion and became an Episcopalian.

Began painting mostly christian themes with some portraits.

Associates: Isabel Bishop and Reginald Marsh.

2 children, Mark Miller Kelly and Angela Lee Kelly (now Aurora Joan Stone)

Moved to Richmond, Indiana in 1958.  

Moved to Indianapolis, Indiana in 1965 after receiving a grant from Eli Lilly foundation.

Moved to Canton, Ohio in 1969, becoming artist in residence at Malone College for four years.  After this, a board was formed to support his organization Fine Arts Contemporary Evangelism (FACE).

Later moved to Alexandria, Virginia.  Now lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

His correspondence with Kenneth Hayes Miller is available in the Archives of American Art in Washington, DC.

He is mentioned in the book To Keep Art Alive by Lincoln Rothschild

One reason the gave his correspondence to the Archives was to combat what those like this author thought, that he had no original ideas and was just a protege of Miller.

In 1966, an entire issue of Christianity Today was devoted to a discussion of the "Christian stake in education and the arts." Two major articles discussed visual arts.  One, by Gordon Kelly, a "Christian painter," contained a negative evaluation of art "used only for self-expression leading to the worship of the creature," rather than worship of God.  Kelly decried some modern art for being "neurotic evidence" of "man's pathological preoccupation with himself, ending in meaninglessness and despair."  The Christian artist, according to Kelly, in order to "fulfill his high calling in Christ," needs "discipline, discernment, and order."  Aesthetics must be "subjected to the mind of Christ."

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