ERIKA KECK . How to Catch Monkeys
6 MARCH — 10 APRIL 2015. WED – SUN. 12 – 6
Using a parable from Sufi tradition, ‘How to Catch Monkeys*,’ as a starting point, Erika Keck reflects on the practice of painting.
Orthodox theories, and even the most reasonable calculations, seem to decay or to dissolve in the face of endless possibilities. As the expectations of the practice of painting waver and change, so does the painting itself.
Emphasizing the importance of the practice of painting, Erika Keck explores the principles by which it operates. Her continued interest in the material surface of a painting goes from the concept of being guided by the process, over planning things out, to letting chance have its way. She links together different examples of how new knowledge can cast old ‘facts’ into a completely new light, by carefully selecting and acknowledging them in a subtle play between convention and freedom.
Executed in her trademark, heavily-thickened paint, Keck’s works reveal the limits to which she has continued to push paint's physicality, whilst maintaining the richly harmonious compositional sense which carries her work far beyond mere formalist invention.
From densely 'scripted' works in which heaps of highly toned paint nestle into and against each other, to calm works in which austere uncovered planes are enlivened by occasionally erupting flecks of bright color, the exhibition bares witness to the diverse range of effects Keck's technical mastery enables. It shows her ability to create thoroughly abstract works which push paint's physicality to new heights, well beyond the edges of the supporting structure. Throughout, the unmediated relationship between paint and the viewer imbues Keck's work with an emotive directness.
The principal theme throughout the artist’s work lies in endings and beginnings, truth and interpretation and different notions of what constitutes a painting.
Keck considers the practice of painting, not as a self-contained entity, but as one that is grounded in the relationships of all individuals and their previous and subsequent generations. Therefore, paintings are meaningful only under the condition that they are a part of the much larger process of history. When they have historical continuity and carry traces of the past. When they constitute “communal memory.” A unity of time and place, which translates into continuities.
Erika Keck (1976, Albuquerque, NM) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is held in major collections around the world, and has been the subject of several exhibitions across the United States and Europe.
*From Tales of the Dervishes