Ash Keating

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2017 Sydney Contemporary

As a series Ash Keating’s Gravity System Response is not simply an accumulation of works that represent one idea but a system unto which he frames part of his studio practice. Other series include Natural System Response and Remote Nature Response. Each of these groupings refer to the way in which the works are made, be that through natural events such as pooling, wind and temperature or, as in the case with Gravity System Response, by the downward force that attracts the paint to the bottom of the canvas. These labels were chosen some years ago as a way of classifying a technique for creating work that could go on ad infinitum, if he saw fit. More broadly speaking, Keating’s practice is an obsessive exploration into the arbitrary energy of paint, air and water when combined. A number of essays about his studio paintings draw an aesthetic tie to landscape. In these recent works the central funnel shape prompt us to visualise a waterfall, cliffs, a cave or a tornado; in other words, the natural world. Yet these are abstract paintings, both minimalist and maximalist in their scope. Keating is not aiming to create representative images but instead to free colour from any cultural restraints in order to generate unique energy and emotion. Aqua and turquoise are layered underneath intense coatings of purple, silver trickles into black and ultramarine is washed with violet and white pigments. As each colour is applied to the next one can imagine it mixing as it falls, forming under the presence of time and the will of the artist. If we cast our eye back to the origins of the Gravity System Response series it is possible to see just how dramatically different the effects of a systematic approach can be. - David Hagger

In 1967 a Federal referendum was held asking Australians whether two references in the constitution which discriminated against Aboriginal people should be removed. One of the references slated for change stated that ‘in reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal (sic) natives should not be counted.’ 90.77% of respondents voted for change – the highest YES vote ever recorded in a Federal referendum. The YES font featured in my work was used in advertising and promotional material prior to the referendum during a period when momentum for political change within Indigenous affairs was growing. Fifty years on from the 1967 referendum, this country and its Government still have a long way to go in recognizing and restoring the rights of the traditional owners of this land. - Reko Rennie

Ash Keating
Reko Rennie

7 - 10 September 2017

Sydney Contemporary
Eveleigh, Sydney, Australia

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> Download exhibition catalogue (Reko Rennie)