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ELLSWORTH KELLY, the artist who has influenced generations of painters with his understanding of
colour, has his first ever solo exhibition in Scotland. Words: Morgan Falconer
20 THE LIST 9? .Jan 75; l (El) QIXE-t
n the summer of l959 lillsworth Kelly had a studio on
(‘oenties Slip. the southernmost harbour of the port of
Manhattan. It was. at that time. one of the last remnants of the heavy indtistty that used to clutter the island‘s coast. He had jttst linished work on a series of red paintings. and having already stripped ol‘l~ his shirt in the midday sun. he stepped back to contemplate them.
He was literally entranced. Maybe it was the dizzying temperature of New York‘s summer. maybe it was the blazing vermillion paint: but in an ecstacy ol~ pleasure Kelly quickly gathered the pictures around in a circle. leant them against stepladders just under a skylight. and began to dance. It was patt pagan hymn to creation. pan modern improvisation. part ludicrous drunken jig.
No doubt it was a rather absurd scene. but it captures a lot ol~ the peculiar contradictions of the American painter whose recent prints have just gone on show at the lngleby (iallery. lt somehow brings together the vigorous American scene that has been Kelly's background. along with his creative desire to transcend it. Kelly is a man steeped in [European culture: he is someone who regards an with high seriouness. as a gateway