Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Kelly Ording’s Pandemic Inspired Art Mirrors Hope
Blue Moon
Tuesday, July 6, 2021


Earlier during the coronavirus pandemic Kelly Ording created an exhibition of work that spoke about physical bodies being restricted to the rooms in their homes.

The solo exhibition, which appeared in Oakland, also spoke about minds that used imagination to travel beyond those physical limitations.

Ording’s new exhibition appearing at Gilman Contemporary in Ketchum addresses this time of coming out of lockdowns, quarantines and, hopefully, the pandemic.


“Things were hopeful when I made this body of work and I wanted to use bright colors and shapes to mirror that sense of hope,” said Ording, who has numerous large-scale public works throughout the Bay area. “This work is similar to the earlier work, but for me moves beyond that feeling of being stuck or trapped.  It's work about hope, joyfulness and appreciation.”

Gilman Contemporary will celebrate Kelly Ording’s new abstract paintings, “A Bright Side,” with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, July 8. The reception, at the gallery at 661 Sun Valley Road, is the first the gallery has had since 2019.

The gallery will be offering Roadbars cocktails to make the event especially festive.

Ording is an Oakland, Calif.-based painter whose work brings together organic shapes and dyes and geometric grids and mark making. 

Candy Shop

Her landscapes pull their palette from the natural world, while the geometric pieces give her an excuse to experiment with color—in this case, using bright uplifting tones.

Most of the linework consists of arcs and circles with a few straight, harsh lines. Bright colors and shapes mirror the sense of hope present when Ording began the work.

Each piece begins with a dyeing process, and the composition that follows is based on the natural result of that process.

Some papers or canvases are dyed by hand with large watercolor brushes and others are dip-dyed. The process mimics natural occurrences, such as the way the tide comes up to the shore, leaving a residue when it recedes to the ocean.

Mimicking natural occurrences, such as tides, speaks about time and the unstoppable passing of time.

Much of my work speaks about time, reinterpreting the way in which time moves in a poetic way. The past year has undoubtedly challenged our understanding of the passing of time.  My paintings explore the marking of time and question how one is able to register time in a visual way,” said Ording.

Ording said she loves the idea of giving control to the viewer, allowing them to search their own memories or experiences to create meaning as they viewer her works.

“In that sense, it becomes an abstract work by not controlling what and where the image is,” she said.


The Sun Valley Museum of Art will hold two final free exhibition tours of its visual arts exhibition, “Clay, Silver, Ink: Sun Valley Center at 50” on the same evening as Gilman’s reception for Kelly Ording.

The first tour will take place at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, July 8, and the second at 5:30 p.m.

The exhibition looks back at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts’ early years, featuring artwork made by artists who taught there in the 1970s and ‘80s. The exhibition runs through July 28.

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