• Kelly Akashi

    Contact Prints
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  • Serving as an introduction to Kelly Akashi's practice in photography, Contact Prints explores how we understand objects by indexing them in different states of existence. Utilizing her training and academic background in chemical, darkroom photography, Akashi reengaged her photographic practice alongside her early studies in glassblowing to reveal a new way to see her glass sculptures' materiality and makeup. While her sculptural practice has continued to consider the difficulty of defining and binding existence, her contact prints ask how we come to know the things that make up our world and how we can rethink our perceptions and definitions.

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    Phase represents a new starting point and evolution in Kelly Akashi’s ongoing series of contact prints. Working with fused glass during different phases of development and states of being, Phase continues the artist's interest in documenting the process of transformation through time and medium. 

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    Framed by the boundary of light-sensitive paper, many materials appear to reach outside the composition, emphasizing activity outside of what is captured. These prints, made only by touch in complete darkness, aim to expand our knowledge and look beyond the surface. 

  • "No one color truly fits the language we ascribe to it. The colors I utilize in these works exist on an intersecting spectrum and transcend the language we use to identify them. I see color as another meaningful material in my practice, one that I engage with physically in the chemical conditions of the darkroom and glassblowing hot shop." — Kelly Akashi

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    In Elastic Creep and Life Form (Double Elastic), the colors fade into a gradient. Using color as a material, Akashi stretches hues using light and chemistry to show its elasticity and malleability while simultaneously exposing caustics through her handmade glass elements.

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    Originally trained as a photographer, Akashi employs photography's traditional tools to reveal nearly imperceptible details. Using her sculptural work and the medium of glass as a starting point, these new contact prints explore and unveil internal structures and forms through camera-less photography. Creating a new way of seeing objects, Akashi is interested in exploring glass's materiality through a different lens.

  • 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.


    Currently on view at the Aspen Art Museum is a new commissioned sculpture, Cultivator, which will be on view at the museum's Crown Commons through March 2021. Winner of the 2019 Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Art Prize the artist had a residency 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 concluded 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 is currently featured in Ground/work at the Clark Art Institute and Possédé·e·s at MoCo Montpellier Contemporain in France. Other notable group exhibitions include the Hammer Museum’s biennial, Made in L.A. (2016); 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 Brooklyn Museum, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; CC Foundation, Shanghai; X Museum, Beijing; The Perimeter, London; David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Sifang Museum, Nanjing, among others.