Kathy Kelley’s Suckling Is Continuous

For Suckling Is Continuous, local artist Kathy Kelley covered ten-foot, eight-foot and six-foot balls with pieces of leftover tires. The scraps are twisted to form shapes resembling nipples and sucking mouths, but it’s obviously more than an attempt to tickle our less-than-mature sense of humor — well, not completely. “The [smallest] one is 100 percent made out of inner tubes. They’ll be sewn into one continuous piece with sucking mouths all over it. So it becomes one gigantic sucking…” Go on. “You could say my art sucks,” Kelley laughs. “It will just slip over the sphere like a gigantic condom.” She stops herself. “That’s probably not what you want to put in your paper, but [since it’s] the Houston Press, maybe it is. “There’s no reference to condoms, the piece is not about condoms.”

Okay, so what are we supposed to learn once we stop giggling? Kelley says the mouths and nipples reflect both her own and society’s tendency to constantly consume, but never produce. “The sucking mouth of consumer culture doesn’t satisfy us…the nipple of capital culture — it’s empty at this point.

“My art is about taking stuff out of the waste stream and repurposing it, and if it doesn’t work out, I just put it back in the waste stream, and I haven’t changed the total mass. So even if my art really does suck, I can throw it away and I don’t have to feel bad.” Suckling is on display in Freed Art and Nature Park for the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Green Valentine, which hosts tree plantings and “green” art projects. Kelley unveils her spheres today at 2 p.m. at the corner of Houston Avenue and White Oak. The sculpture will be on view every day through November 1. For information, call 713-502-9454 or visit www.bbap-houston.org. Free.
Feb. 9-Nov. 1, 2008

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Dusti Rhodes
Contact: Dusti Rhodes