by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright
Waterhouse and Dodd Gallery
November 11 – December 8, 2015
Kim Keever. Abstract 11892.2014. 24×31, 50×65.
“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Maya Angelou
Kim Keever’s latest work jubilantly extends his unique photographic exploration of aquatically manipulated imagery. No one out there is doing anything like it. His practice of photographing colored pigment dispersing into water is sui generis. The eye-catching results are kinetic confabulations that don’t refer to any fixed forms (or ides fixe either).
Using a 200-gallon tank to capture his vibrant tableaux, Keever’s technique relies on chance to generate aesthetically compelling arrangements. His stimulating, complex and often beautiful works challenge our preconceptions about art —as it relates to both personal expression and to Abstract Expressionism.
As the show’s title humbly proclaims, the compositions are products of “Random Events.” All of the customary art references that filter through these works are not a result of mimicry. Keever’s images are completely abstract, yet they intimate numerous associations. From the forces of nature to the confections of heaven, these “still-lifes” unveil an abundance of nuances.
Textures can vary from marble to taffy. The details are sharp. Bold borders give way to cascading wisps. Cumulous pillows exude Turneresque transcendence while celestial bouquets rival the flower paintings of Jan van Huysum.
In “Abstract 11892,” smoky apparitions and roiling wraiths shuffle and coil around a vortex. The billowing forms are tinged with saffron, salmon, cream and powder blue, and denote the majesty of ascension (as well as paintings of the Ascension of Jesus). The emergent forms undulate, animating a sinuous, shifting narrative.
While the work appears to balloon up, sometimes resembling explosions, in reality, the entropic direction is down. We see gravity pulling currents of color to form friezes of sensuous cohesion. Indeed, there is much to “see.”
We “see” anemones and membranes. We “see” chrysanthemums, ponies, popcorn, faces and galactic pillars invoking the Hubble telescope. We “see” knotted cords of twisted water, offering exultant lines of Rococo exuberance.
Keever has found a singular and most effective way to infuse space with innovative improvisations. Viewing these works is akin to looking raptly at radiant clouds and spying evanescent delights.
Originally, Keever studied engineering. His engineering of light, color, shape and motion offers a potent, lyric perspective that touches the bedrock of art. He makes room for us to discover and excavate for ourselves, the unintentional archetypes embedded in his unparalleled work.