Khalif Kelly


Khalif Kelly’s first solo show at Thierry Goldberg Projects, “Recess,” will be on display from January 11-February 10. Kelly’s paintings depict African-American children playing with each other on playgrounds, alone and pensive, and in groups around props, such as tree houses and laundry lines. Kelly’s vivid palette, spatial flatness, and portrayal of African-American life call to mind the figurative work of Jacob Lawrence as well as the puppatoon animations of George Pal, especially the “Jasper” series. Like Pal’s characters in the “Jasper” series, Kelly’s forms have been winnowed down to basic geometric shapes and flat blocks of color make up nostalgic backdrops in which children cluster in dynamically charged groups. Khalif Kelly was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1980 and grew up in Arlington, Texas. He currently lives and works in New Haven, CT. He holds a BFA in painting from The Art Institute of Chicago, and is currently enrolled in the MFA program at Yale University.