| Courtesy, Feigen Contemporary, New York|
|Summer: Blue, Yellow, and Gray, 2004, C-print|
Romancing the tones
In his deftly orchestrated dioramas shot in a fish
tank, Kim Keever seduces us with his gorgeous version
By JEFFREY CYPHERS WRIGHT
Kim Keever's landscapes are rife with anticipation,
as if a deity were about to step out from behind the
backdrop of overarching clouds and announce an eternal
free lunch. Unabashedly handsome, even majestic, they
are nevertheless mysterious, moody and perhaps a bit
malevolent (in a good way!). Wagnerian. Except there
are no humans. We are seemingly either in a primordial
Eden or a post-apocalyptic pastoral.
Immediately, these large, horizontal photographs evoke
such luminaries as Church and Bierstadt, the Hudson
River School and their predecessors, David Casper
Friedrich and the German Romantics. Keever's photos
hearken back to an era when nature was pristine and
seemed vast while still capable of being haunting.
There was no irony in the optimism it inspired.
Keever's own Romanticism is writ large in these
exuberant raptures. Delightfully so. The golds and
blues are emblematic of nature and the idealism that realm inhabits in our
minds. In "Summer: Blue, Yellow and Gray," a sunset
(or is it a fire?) worthy of an Hawaiian shirt or a
Bollywood poster emblazons the sky while in the
foreground bent trees belie the seeming serenity. An
uncanny sense of imminent kinetic energy lurks just under
the surface. Nature is bipolar. Any moment, all hell
could break loose.
|Photographs by: Kim Keever.|
| January 6 - February 19, 2005|
Opening reception: January 6, 2005, 6-8
Gallery: Feigen Contemporary
535 West 20th St. (btw. 10th and 11th Ave.)
New York NY
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Phone: (212) 929-0500
And further undercutting the confection, dark marks
mar the trans-serene settings like scratches and
scrapes on a negative, or perhaps scars on an old
painting or ink on an engraving. They're actually caused by scum!
Yes, because Keever takes pictures of his constructs in
an aquarium. Over the years a film has built up on
| Courtesy, Feigen Contemporary, New York|| |
|View of artist's studio set-up|| |
Finally, the succulent, almost palpable energy
is created when he pours the pigment into the water. Colored lights complete the compelling illusion. Realizing that these
realistic landscapes aren't real is half the fun.
Finding out they're submerged is too much! Andres
Serrano's "Piss Christ" with all its scandal comes to
There is something a little sacrilegious about
Keever's seeming deception. And yet that is the
glorious salvation of this art. Keever has made
exquisite concoctions that move with jewel precision.
But he has provided a seamy side that expresses our
time's concerns over the ruination of nature.
So here we have it both. The sublime and the
In "July 3," we see a boulder-strewn declivity
sprawled between jagged cliffs. The foreground is
flooded. Lightening seems to filter through a writhing
turmoil of atmosphere as if it were the trumpet
section of the Berlin Philharmonic. The blues and
blacks roil like wraiths above Macbeth's witches'
cauldron. The scum marks are significant. They add an
element of frost or decay, appearing to fluctuate
between background and fore.
| ||We have it both. The sublime and the
As the elements duel in their eternal struggle, we
fathom our profound solitude from a vantage of
blissful negligence. The stagy darkness in "July 3"
adds just the right amount of ballast to carry
this brilliant show to new heights or depths!
|JANUARY 12, 2005|
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