One of the most extraordinary aspects of Jaipur is the Jantar Mantar, a collection of fourteen immense astronomical instruments (the largest of which is 90 feet tall). It is one of five similar observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh II (1688-1743), Maharaja of Amber, in the early 18th century.
Kelly was profoundly effected by this extraordinary site, and created a series of nine collages on his return to the studio. They were not, however, exhibited at the time. Then, in the summer of 2015, he returned to this imagery, creating four new collages, two major new wall sculptures, and a large painting.
The exhibition Observatory at Jaipur at Elizabeth Leach Gallery (October 2015) collects these works, and is accompanied by this 88 page catalog reproducing the entire series, as well as a suite of photographs of the site taken by Kelly, and studio views of the works in progress, with commentaries and historical background by Lee Kelly, Kassandra Kelly and Randal Davis.
Lee Kelly was born in McCall, Idaho in 1932. Long regarded as one of the most important and influential artists in the Pacific Northwest, noted for his freestanding and wall sculptures, as well as numerous major public art projects and private commissions. He has lived and worked at his studio complex, Leland Iron Works, in rural country not far from Portland, Oregon, for more than 50 years.
Other monographs on Lee Kelly from Leland Iron Works Press include One through Nine, treating a series of paintings and related works from 2014, and A Book of Gardens, a facsimile reprint of a limited edition 1987 artist book.