Towhead n’Ganga, enclosed in darkness, lorded over by the sexualized folded high priestless form reflects many of Kelley’s works, in both its compositional and semantic qualities. The drawing on wood, the popcorn mixture, and the title all manifest a bumpy fullness, a “more-is-more” conflation between supposedly eternal spirituality and everyday stuff. The work’s title points to a serious timelessness completely belied by the materials. While the composition is attractive, the objects themselves efface a potentially straightforward meaning.
Mike Kelley’s sculptures, collages, performances, and videos often rework the artifacts of suburban culture into new forms: bodies, carpets, and less-distinct masses. Kelley laces the mess of erotics and death into the material stuff of the American imaginary, such as movies, country music, and stuffed animals. Somehow, Kelley manages to do so in a way that extend these materials’ predilections, rather than counter them.