Ian McKeever

Walker Art Gallery

After hovering between drawing and photography, Ian McKeever has turned to painting with his “Night Flak” series, organized with the discipline of a conceptual piece. For his six paired panels, inspired by the German Romantic poet Novalis’ Hymns to the Night, he chose canvases as large as he could encompass with arms outstretched. Then he prepared himself like a Method actor. To accustom himself to dark spaces he learned potholing; Novalis had been a student of mining. He got into the habit of painting at night, working from dusk to dawn without lights. The intention was not to learn to manage without daytime vision, but rather to exploit the emotional vulnerability caused by disorientation and lack of sleep. The second panel of Solitary Is the Place suggests a testing of perimeters, like the prowling of a caged animal. Yet help is at hand. “Aside I turn to the holy, ineffable Night,”

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