Ian McKeever

By Yood, James | Artforum International, November 1993 | Go to article overview

Ian McKeever


Yood, James, Artforum International


Ian McKeever's recent paintings are abstract in the same way spider webs are: though nonfigurative and nonreferential, they reflect patterns drawn from nature. Certain structures and processes become mesmerizing as McKeever spins his various webs and trellises in paint, as sequential applications of viscous materials cascade over his canvases. His method of doing so, its rhythms and surprising subtleties, is compelling. These paintings are compendia of differing, and sometimes opposite, pictorial tendencies, which, rather than being reconcilied, are brought to a point where they begin to reveal certain aspects of the poetics of their essence.

This all happens within the framework of the series, which, for McKeever, becomes a means of foregrounding the interdependency of the works. Drawn from his "Door" and "Hour" series, both 1992--93, the paintings exhibited here play off one another. It is no surprise that while Hour-Painting No. 7, 1992--93, is predominantly black, with just bits of white paint spackled lightly across its surface, Hour-Painting No. 2, 1992--93, is rendered almost totally white, its pristine and rather bleak surface marred only by what appears to be a lattice of black and gray lines. The former painting has a smooth and imperturbable surface, as if a dark veil had been drawn between states of being, while the latter is busy, strident, and active, formed by striations of lines that move toward and away from each other.

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