AboutIan McKeever has developed a pictorial language which is unique in British painting. It has brought him considerable international acclaim while simultaneously setting him apart from his peers and defying neat categorisation.
This is the first British exhibition of McKeever's monumental series, the Temple Paintings, which were produced between 2004 and 2006. They reveal the artist's continuing interest in exploring a visual language that oscillates between figuration and abstraction, but which is neither narrative nor symbolic. With their distinctive quality of suggesting transparency and emerging light, the paintings are built up using layer upon layer of transparent paint to establish structures which at times appear to hover and float between a sense of presence and absence while evoking residual bodily form.
The impetus for the Temple Paintings arose from McKeever's visit to China in 2004, and the profound impact that the traditional Buddhist temples had on the artist, in particular, the disjunction between the heavy physical architecture of the temples and their ostensible role as places of the spirit.
In reference to this quality Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton writes in the 2009 essay on McKeever, [The Temple Paintings] are concerned first and foremost with painting and within that endeavour the expression of fullness - of experience and consciousness."