Scene Seen: Madeleine Keesing at Goya Contemporary and Bi-Polar at School 33

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Why You’re Not Selling Any Artwork by Cara Ober

Madeleine Keesing: Particles
January 13 – March 15, 2014 Reception: Wednesday, January 15, 6 – 8pm Curated by Amy Raehse
Goya Contemporary & Goya-Girl Press
3000 Chestnut Avenue, Mill 214, Baltimore, MD 21211

Educated in the formalist-modernist tradition, Madeleine Keesing began her practice in the late 60’s- early 70’s, and was clearly aware of both the Feminist and the P&D movements. In the succeeding years her style evolved to include a method of laborious material application whereas she carefully positioned small droplets of paint in repetitive rows. By way of their concern with color (monochromatic, and later, variegated) Keesing’s work has often been paired with the practice of Post-Minimalist vernacular, yet for many years has nodded to the dialect of Fiber Arts as well. Thickly layering two, three or more striations of variously colored paint, the earlier works create a vibrant sensory experience where process and effect comingle, transcending the purely formalist qualities of hue, texture, and line, which give way to a richer, more complex meditative involvement that makes the painting feel alive with breath.

During recent years, Keesing experimented with sculptural forms and printmaking in order to unlock the process of her experience. This period of discovery gave way to a resonance with the earlier work, tapping in to the meditative ritual aesthetics of her past, but embedded with the nature of a more globalized, informed understanding. The work moves past the pretention of purely formal impact, to access a tapestry of cultivated patterns. The most notable difference, however, is the artist’s illusion of space, which departs from her former surface treatment.

Born in Woodbury, NJ (1941), Keesing attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn from 1959 to 1963 and later graduated with a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts. She obtained her MFA from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro in 1974. Her work is in several museum collections including the Guggenheim’s and has been shown in solo exhibitions around the country.

















BiPolar, curated by Andrea Pollan at School 33
January 17 to March 8
Participating artists:  Lauren Frances Adams, Katie Duffy, Mary Frank, Hedieh Ilchi, and Dan Perkins

The authentic experience in art production for serious contemporary artists requires an acute awareness of both the external apparatus of the art world – including the rigors of academia and the fickleness of the market – and a finely honed consciousness of the internal voice that motivates the making of art. One might argue that the latter point is far more important. Nonetheless in discussing these two extreme poles on a spectrum with many artists, I find that there is a psychological terrain akin to bipolarity that many endure in the studio. Mood swings, isolation, mania, doubt, exhilaration, depression, and inspiration are but a few conditions that characterize and color the artistic (and curatorial) process.

The exhibition includes painting (Hedieh Ilchi, Dan Perkins), sculpture (Mary Frank), installation (Lauren Frances Adams), video and performance (Katie Duffy). As artists embrace more means of visual communication within their distinct œuvres, mixing up and challenging approaches to their media, we are treated to a more complex, sometimes dizzying array of aesthetic and social issues that can lead us, the viewer, to parse our own difficult yet pleasurable spectrum of response and understanding.

To read Andrea Pollan’s full essay about BiPolar, click here.














Goya Contemporary photos by Joe Hyde and Joan Cox / School 33 photos by Cara Ober

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