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Ian McKeever is widely seen as one of the few artists working today who take on the big issues of life through the intuitive, emotional, physical – and deeply intelligent – practice of painting.
The series of paintings, Sentinels, was started in the autumn of 2002 and is ongoing. Their title comes from what he sees as their guardian-like quality and the suggestion of a doorway or threshold. Vertical in format and 2.25 metres high, they directly confront us, drawing us into their space while holding us at bay, setting their physical presence against our own. Predominantly
red and white, or black and white, the paintings are neither abstract nor figurative. Visceral in their paint surface and emanating light, they combine the veils and transparencies of earlier work with a more sculptural, architectural quality.
Interlaced with the Sentinel paintings is a retrospective of drawings from the last ten years. Drawing has always been an important accompaniment to McKeever’s practice as a painter.
A series of drawings often follows on from a related set of paintings, allowing him to work through a range of possibilities which could not be embodied in the paintings. Spontaneous and instinctive, they are never preparatory studies but often spark off the next series of paintings.