These pieces are from a new series of comical reinterpretations of 18th and 19th century European decorative ceramic tchotchkes. “Toby Town” is so named, as many of the pieces are inspired by Toby Jugs, character mugs and Staffordshire figurines. Kelly’s fascination stems from the collections of his midwestern relatives and a resulting appreciation for historic and contemporary kitsch ceramic objects and vernacular art forms. Dwelling in that liminal space of the “decorative arts” the original forms are free to carry frivolous, grotesque and humorous messages. In these oversized and twisted versions, Kelly celebrates the original spirit of this form, and infuses it with his own humor and anxiety.
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