Recent exhibitions in both museum and art gallery have shown work that relates to the act of travelling. Through a number of residences and fellowships in the Antarctic and Arctic regions this work has become a measure of the collaboration that takes place between art and science when conducted in the field. The result has been a new and ongoing relationship with the landscape, through the keeping of journals and visual diaries as well as 'forensic' enquiries within the realm of extreme wilderness.

The ship's log project of 2013-15 involved a return to the polar areas while based upon research vessels in both arctic and antarctic waters.

2015 signalled a change as work became more studio based and focused on imaginary journeys and created landscapes. This work has embraced the past journeys made in some of the most remote areas. This has led to the audio-visual format, first used in the imaginary seveteenth century journey of Umitae to the North Pole, based on the literary work of Yuan Mei. Future work will include an imaginary journey to the South Pole.

Storytelling and myth is paralleled in the writing of 'moments in time'; a collection of journeys some real and some based upon historical events from across the world.


Four distinct projects, all involving extensive travel, along with a process of documentation and interpretation. The results were shown in leading museums and public art galleries, accompanied by a series of publications.

Started with a study of the beaches and shorelines in the early 80's, the South Coast Forensics, launched a series of forensic works that continue as different components of drawing, photography, objects and text are knit together.

Keeping the Twilight includes the imagninery journey of Umitai, the Twilight Forensics and Lost Worlds. Moments in Time chronicles journeys from the coast to the Nile, Jerusalem and most recently, Peru.

A journey through time and the far corners has resulted in a substantial body of work exhibited through time and some in permanent collections, along with a list of publications available directly or online.


This online exhibition explores the natural landscapes of Barra and Surtsey through drawing, photography, journal entries and found objects. The exhibition accompanies a temporary exhibition at the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences.

From: February to July 2022

Two Islands image

Sunday, 7 March 2021
In this interview, John Kelly reflects on time spent in both polar regions as an artist and introduces his new work, Northland Journeys into the Twilight, which depicts an imaginary journey to the north polar area.


The Journal Projects

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The Forensic Works

A forensic approach to landscape

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New Work

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