new-york

Darra Keeton

Art in General

Darra Keeton’s paintings give lyrical expression to nature, transforming isolated details of landscape into compositions charged with vitality. In the triptych Phrase, 1991, three 15-inch squares are arranged in a horizontal row, each featuring a different, mysterious scene composed of floral and woodsy motifs. These sinewy configurations, enhanced by the gestural treatment of edges and surfaces, create their own internal rhythm, one that reflects both thematic and formal concerns. If the black bulbous shape peering out of the left panel projects a primal energy, the dark clusters in the center panel, perhaps of seed-combs, seem caught in a kind of whirlwind. The slim stems with their caps of leaves bring to mind either plants or trees, depending on the viewer’s perspective. Keeton’s handling of oil is thoroughly engaging: the forms seem to breathe, as if expanding and contracting. In the

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