Brief Reflections on Ian Mckeever's Art
Ian McKeever's paintings have ultimately failed, in my estimation, to create a latent sense of time. They can only take the time which they are given by the viewer; it is he who imbues the painting with its meaning. I agree with McKeever that painting is no longer a craft of reproducing things; a modern painter must focus on the medium. However, any unique use of the medium, it seems to me, is only valuable insomuch as it can give you a point of light to focus on. It is the world which values these few works so highly that is able to provide the darkness for that light to sit upon. If you are willing to accept that you are part of a darkness, it can be a glimpse to the divine, but the same can be achieved by a blade of grass or a dumpster or a walk in the rain or the view through the peephole of your door, all you must do is place the darkness around them. McKeever has just managed to get the culture to make people be thoughful about his art. To his credit, he is aware of the weakness of his paintings, but I think the pomp and tradition of the studio and the gallery make this artist.
The value of painting in a post-detail-capture world is to remove detail. Paintings are successful because of what they aren't. Nevertheless, I take issue with the fact that McKeever's paintings have no detail because it means they have no subject. This is why his paintings can not stand alone. They are dependent on the context of the art world. Some works can be put anywhere, and they will still be able to stand because they create their own context. As an exercise, when I create visual art in the future, I will picture it as the taking up a computer monitor, lying on the ground beside a highway, and being held in front of saturated green grass. If the art can survive these contexts it provides its own context and succeeds at encouraging its own contemplation.