Landscape Study: Scotland, 1988 by Ian McKeever

A rare opportunity to be fully immersed in the dynamic first two decades of a long and distinguished career, and a fascinating prism through which to view the years that followed; the continuous evolution of structure, scale, and intent, with an unwavering engagement and purpose.

The exhibition at HackelBury Fine Art brings together for the first time since McKeever’s mid-career retrospective at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1990 works from the earliest phase of his career.

Highlighting the artist’s transition from a dialogue with drawing, painting and photography to an engagement with pure painting; this movement at the same time mirrors the transition in the work from landscape to abstraction.

Since the birth of photography the 'death of painting' has been foreseen. Battle lines have been drawn not only against other media, photography has simultaneously fought for its own status as art. Within these conflicts the role of photography as an equal and active partner to painting and drawing could easily be overlooked.

In his early work, Ian McKeever left aside these arguments and utilised analogue photography to record and represent observed reality: harnessing the inherent tension between the different media he created a turbulent testbed for the subjective gestural expression of drawing and painting. Through his first two decades he continued to set one against the other with distinct but equal roles in his explorations, eventually allowing the various forces to merge and combine...

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HackelBury's imprint series partners with Photo London to bring you a panel discussion exploring the role and function of photography in the early work of Ian McKeever.

Panellists comprise: British artist Ian McKeever RA, artist and writer Mark Prince (Art Review, Art Monthly,Frieze), curator Lewis Biggs (Folkestone Triennial 2014), and art historian and critic Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton (President, AICA UK). The discussion will be moderated by Francis Hodgson (Financial Times Photography Critic).

Please see www.photolondon.org/news for further information.

Places are extremely limited and booking is essential.
To reserve a seat please contact: kathryn.hill@candlestar.co.uk +44 (0)207 759 1170



We are delighted to celebrate the inaugural issue of imprint: an irregular periodical, dedicated to the work of a single artist; in-depth and in print.

imprint #1 features a substantial text by Mark Prince. The dialectical method of Ian McKeever is examined in depth, along with the wider context of contemporary art made during this period - the relationship between early conceptual art of the 60's and 70's, modernism and post-modernism, refracted by the long history of traditional British Landscape Art; the role of landscape as a pretext for a process, rather than as subject or object, and the tension between the differing modes of representation and material qualities of photography, painting and drawing:

"Ian McKeever's art of the 1970s and 80s is remarkable, for that time and context, in attempting to juggle large-scale painterly abstraction and conceptual, analytical modes. Rather than striving to resolve these contradictions, he transmuted them into a dialectical model which would give onto a series of others, as though in its image: between painting and photography; belief and reason; abstraction and representation; logic and intuition. True to the conceptual, relativistic side of this equation, McKeever's art of the 1970s embodies a conception of an artistic practice as a space accommodating forms of conflict and doubt which later generations would consider threatening to the coherence and autonomy of a single, artistic position, and even an artist's functional self-identity. In the context of market-driven, early 21st-century contemporary art, in which an artist, as marketable entity, is synonymous with a brand and should appear as resolved and singular in purpose as possible from the moment his work is presented, it is salutory to perceive the trajectory of McKeever's early work admitting the irreconcilability of coexisting positions as an ongoing rather than resolvable condition."

Mark Prince, Against Photography: Early Works, 1975-1990.
imprint #1, July 2014



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