Oli Kellett: Fellow Humans

Cross Road Blues (Dartmouth St, Boston), 2017©Oli_Kellett_Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art

10th September – 31st October 2020

“I´m looking for a moment when somebody is psychologically removed from the physical space they are in, alone with their thoughts for a few seconds.”

Oli Kellett HackelBury Fine Art is pleased to present Oli Kellett´s second solo exhibition with the gallery, Fellow Humans 10th September – 31st October 2020. Fellow Humans focuses on Kellett’s ongoing and evolving Cross Road Blues series made up of large scale photographs taken at crossroads in cities across North and South America. The exhibition includes new works on show for the first time such as Madison St, New York, Tremont St, Boston, and Avenida Almirante Barroso, Rio de Janeiro which capture a stillness and grace that characterizes the photographs in this series.

Oli Kellett: Fellow Humans
Cross Road Blues (Av. Almirante Barroso, Rio, Brazil), 2019 ©Oli_Kellett_Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art

Kellett’s largescale photographs contrast the anonymity of urban space with the individuality of human experience. The scale of these photographs captures tangible human expression and allows the viewer to recognise a moment of conscious contemplation in their lives. Kellett´s journey to find the perfect light sees him walking the streets for days before setting up his large format architectural camera and waiting to capture these intensely private moments. The way the buildings frame his photographs and his focus on the light creates a cinematic quality, providing a dramatic architectural backdrop to these unstaged scenes. An admirer of the great American painter Edward Hopper, who famously reflected American life in silent spaces and melancholic moments, Kellett´s mesmerizing photographs of everyday people waiting at crossroads provide us with a powerful contemporary metaphor.

Oli Kellett: Fellow Humans
Cross Road Blues (Av. Pres. Vargas Rio Brazil), 2019©Oli_Kellett_Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art

Kellett´s interrogation into deciphering a series of the same image is influenced by The Dusseldorf School and artists such as Thomas Struth as well as the American landscape photographer Mark Ruwedel. Although he uses the crossroads as a conceptual framework with which to work, these photographs reveal Kellett´s deep interest in the human psyche.
Cross Road Blues (Tremont St, Boston), 2017 The Cross Road Blues series began in 2016 when Kellett was visiting Los Angeles during the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election and the country was at a political crossroads. The series has continued to evolve over the years as a result of numerous visits to cities across the United States and South America
including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Houston, Phoenix, Seattle, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo, and Mexico City. Although the timing of this exhibition just before the 2020 US presidential election may elicit some relevance, Kellett is clear that this series has since taken on a more universal and contemplative meaning – perhaps even existential – about the individual and the direction they choose to take. Inspired by the title of Gauguin´s painting “Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?” in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, this exhibition reflects our contemporary search for an answer. The exhibition is accompanied by the premiere of a short film directed by Will Garthwaite which shows how Kellett explores the use of the large format architectural camera to create these works and allows us to understand the process behind the thinking and making of his Crossroads series.

Oli Kellett: Fellow Humans
Cross Road Blues (Madison St, NY), 2019©Oli_Kellett_Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art

“Everybody has to wait to cross the road – it allows people to have a few seconds of space – to wait, to contemplate. This is what I have been looking for in the last three years. Walking is an honest thing to do and it lets the city wash over you. I am never very sure what I am going to find or who is going to come into frame. I don´t look for people or hunt people down. I turn up with my kit, set up and I wait for someone else to turn up on the other side of the road and I feel like we meet in the middle somehow and then we go on our separate ways. The crossroads becomes this space where I like to think people are wrestling with these big ideas – guidance, morality, and the weight of decision making.
I wonder about people I take photographs of all the time, that is why I am taking them in the first place. They are just fellow people, fellow humans”. Oli Kellett

Oli Kellett: Fellow Humans
Cross Road Blues (Marion St, Seattle), 2018©Oli_Kellett_Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art
Oli Kellett: Fellow Humans
Cross Road Blues (Tremont St, Boston), 2017©Oli_Kellett_Courtesy HackelBury Fine Art

About Oli Kellett
Oli Kellett is a British photographer based in Hastings, UK. He began taking photographs in 2008 and from 2016 he has devoted himself to exploring the urban setting and our relationship with the crossroad and how people navigate their lives.
Using his large format camera, Kellett travels across cities in North and South America to transform the everyday into spectacular beauty.
After studying at Central Saint Martins, he began his career as a creative in the advertising industry writing TV scripts and drawing layouts. Kellett had experimented with black and white photography since his teenage years. When he left the advertising industry he moved onto colour photography and started using the large format camera. Although strongly influenced by painting and the planning and composition that goes into this rigorous process, he loves the chance moment that you can capture with a photograph and is intrigued by moments of human contemplation.
Prior to the ´Crossroads´ series, he worked on a series called ´Welcome to Paradise ´ where he travelled around the UK over ten years photographing places with the word ´paradise´ in the title; often revealing that these places were anything but paradise and far removed from any utopian vision.
In 2018 he was awarded both the Royal Academy Arts Club Award and the Royal Academy Rose Award for Photography for his work included in the 2018 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Kellett was awarded the 2018 Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition Bronze Award.

About HackelBury Fine Art
HackelBury Fine Art deals in 20th and 21st-century artworks from a carefully selected stable of artists. The gallery was opened in 1998 on Launceston Place and is steadfast in nurturing a long-term relationship with both its’ artists and clients. Whether working with young emerging artists or established names, the gallery concentrates on providing support and opportunities for its´ artists to continue to evolve and develop. They focus on illuminating the ideas and philosophy of each artist, and the experience of the work itself. This is done through an expanding program of gallery exhibitions, museum projects, and publishing ventures.


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