This series of intimately-scaled works on paper offers its own distinct form of representation, dictated by the nuances of acrylic paint and established studio habits. Beginning with a succession of scattered marks on blank sheets, these slow compositions accrue dense layers of paint over the course of many months. Kerr employs improvisational compositional methods in an effort to achieve a distinct pictorial structure and mood—always light and vulnerable, sometimes coherent or dissonant. Soft fields of pale pinks and powder blues variously meet with strong strokes of vermilion and alternating textures. A shared atmosphere ties together these abstracted forms into a visual vernacular of chariots, shelters, industrial machinery, insects, robes, and a stage. Some of the works in this presentation hover just above the gallery walls by pins; others are framed by Kerr’s own whimsical wooden constructions. Influences from art history old and new reverberate through this body of work—from late-19th century decorative painting, to mid-20th century British painters Carel Weight and Prunella Clough, to Glasgow-based peers, tutors, and forebears Tony Swain, Victoria Morton, Cathy Wilkes, and Merlin James.
As curator Kai Kähler puts it, “Instead of confident assertions, his works prefer to communicate a sense of investigative restraint. But they are not in any way random. Instead, they radiate a feeling of great earnestness. With their progressive nature they document a self-reflective creative process, they demand respect and thus constitute a moment of gravity in the general hubbub of inconsequential superficiality.”