HackelBury Fine Art is pleased to announce British artist Oli Kellett’s first solo exhibition, Cross Road Blues, 16 November 2018 - 23 February 2019. This exhibition presents large-scale photographs from Kellett’s on-going Cross Road Blues series taken at urban intersections across America.
The series borrows its title from the legendary blues song by Robert Johnson which some claim is a reference to the singer selling his soul to the devil at a Mississippi Delta crossroads. The mythology surrounding Johnson’s song can be interpreted as a cautionary tale of the price paid for the American Dream, and Kellett’s allusion to it leaves the viewer wondering if the figures in his photographs chose their souls or their dreams at their crossroads. Many are looking up, giving the photographs a feeling of contemplation and again calling to mind possible metaphysical influences.
The individuals and small clusters of people waiting in Kellett’s photographs seem to be part of a film set, strangely isolated in typically bustling urban centres and surrounded with cinematographic lighting. Like a film, each person tells a unique story about their American experience. One man waits for a passing school bus before crossing the street with a cast on his right foot (PeachTree St, Atlanta). A family stands together near the corner of the street (Hubbard St, Chicago), possibly deciding whether to walk or take the nearby stairs up to the train. Taken as a whole, the series shows commonalities that all humans share: waiting, thinking, deciding which way to go.
Oli Kellett is a British photographer based in Hastings, UK. Since 2008, he has dedicated himself to exploring the urban setting and our relationship with the crossroad. Using his large format camera, Kellett travels America to transform the everyday into spectacular beauty. In 2018 he was awarded both the Royal Academy Arts Club Award and the Royal Academy Rose Award for Photography for his work included in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. He recently received the Royal Photographic Society International Photography Exhibition 2018 Bronze Award.