Material tactility, its possibilities, limitations, and transformation form the core of Kelly Akashi's practice. Originally trained in analog photography, traditional processes and the materiality of documents continue to inform and fuel her sculptural explorations. Working in a variety of media, such as wax, bronze, fire, glass, silicone, copper, and rope, Akashi investigates the capacity and boundaries of these elements and their ability to construct and challenge conventional concepts of form.
In her sculptural practice, Akashi utilizes indexical materials to emphasize the impressionability and physicality of objects. Often pairing delicate hand-blown glass or hand-made wax candles with bronze casts of her own hands, the artist captures momentary gestures, casting them into perpetual existence. Her interest in the mapping of time has led her to study fossils from extinct species in order to locate humankind amongst other consciousness that have thrived along the earth’s geological timeline. Drawing attention to the fluidity and interconnectedness of the media she uses, Akashi aims to capture the tension and physicality of objects in her practice.
Born in 1983 in Los Angeles, Kelly Akashi currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. The artist graduated with a MFA from University of Southern California in 2014. Akashi studied at the Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste - Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main and received her BFA at Otis College of Art and Design in 2006.
Winner of the 2019 Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Art Prize, the artist will have a residency and upcoming solo exhibition at the foundation in Ojai, California. Other residencies include ARCH Athens, Greece (2019) and at Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, CA (2019) - both of which will conclude with a solo exhibition. Other important solo exhibitions include Long Exposure curated by Ruba Katrib at the SculptureCenter, New York (2017). The artist’s work was featured in the Hammer Museum’s biennial, Made in L.A. (2016); other notable group exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2017); LA: A Fiction, Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, France (2017); Take me (I’m Yours), curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Jens Hoffmann, and Kelly Taxter, Jewish Museum, New York (2016); Can’t Reach Me There, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis (2015).
Kelly Akashi’s work can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; CC Foundation, Shanghai; M WOODS, Beijing; The Perimeter, London; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Sifang Museum, Nanjing, among others.