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Indepth Arts News:

"Ian McKeever: Assembly Paintings 2006-07 from Four Quartets"
2008-02-27 until 2008-04-05
Alan Cristea Gallery
London, , UK United Kingdom

“… painting represents a moving through: the figure is regained through abstraction, form is found through the painting, the canvas is a threshold, a door.” Martin Caiger-Smith in Ian McKeever The Space Between Words, 2007 British painter, Ian McKeever RA, will show monumental new works including recent paintings, related gouaches and new etchings – ‘Assembly Paintings 2006-07’ - from Four Quartets at Alan Cristea Gallery from 28 February.  Simultaneously his work is included in ‘Hugh Stoneman: Master Printer’ at Tate St Ives from 26 January. Ian McKeever has developed a pictorial language that is unique in British painting. It has brought him considerable international acclaim while simultaneously setting him apart from his peers and defying neat categorisation.   

The works in the exhibition are from McKeever’s Assembly series, which is one in a group of four series that collectively form the body of work, Four Quartets, that McKeever began in 2001. The title was taken from TS Eliot’s poem of the same name. There are no literal connections or direct references to the poem within the works but the poem resonates within the work.

As is common in McKeever’s work, the paintings occupy a space between abstraction and figuration and each radiates with its own luminosity. The compositions are made using layer upon layer of transparent paint to create an uncompromising and complex pictorial surface.

McKeever has travelled widely throughout his career to remote and deserted regions of the world, often in marginalized cultures where the language is unintelligible to him and the landscape alien including Afghanistan, Shetland & Faroe Islands, Morocco, Algeria, the Sahara, Lapland, Greenland, Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, eastern Siberia, Lebanon, Rumania, China, Russia and eastern Turkey. Although he has filled many sketchbooks throughout his travels and describes his paintings as landscapes, the way that McKeever’s travels influence the final work is not overt.

The exhibition at Alan Cristea Gallery will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue containing an essay by art historian and critic Jill Lloyd.

From 26 January, Ian McKeever’s work is also included in the exhibition ‘Hugh Stoneman: Master Printer’ at Tate St Ives. Hugh Stoneman (1947 - 2005) was renowned for his unique collaborations with national and international artists. Including Eileen Cooper, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Gary Hume, Grayson Perry and George Shaw. Working in dialogue with painters, photographers and sculptors, he ensured that, through the intrinsic artistic qualities of print media, their work found new relationships between image and material.  

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