Passion For Art

>>>>>Anwen Keeling

Keeling’s beguiling, realist paintings capture suspended moments in fictional lives with a reverence for drama, suspense and elegance. Like film stills from an Alfred Hitchcock thriller, Keeling’s isolated female figures are placed in a series of interiors where the space is either suffused with subtle, refracted light or illuminated by the harsh glare of an electric bulb. A film noir ambience is achieved with chiaroscuro effects and deep shadows which suggest an emotional and psychological undercurrent to the work. Yet the viewer is left to create their own narrative. In Suspense (2007), a young woman pauses, mid-step, upon a spiral staircase, shrouded in deep shadow. Anxiety radiates from her thin frame. She is poised, alert, listening. But what has she heard to induce such emotion? Elements of mystery and suspense are contrasted with moments of intense personal rest and reflection, where the viewer is obliged to acknowledge their own voyeuristic intrusion. In Drifting (2006), the viewer inadvertently intrudes upon the languid, naked form of a young woman, reclining in the bath, lost in her own reverie. “These luminous paintings of domestic interiors are so tantalisingly realistic you’ll feel compelled to apologise for the intrusion”.*

Technically proficient with both the camera and the brush, Keeling stages her scenes by photographing her models in domestic settings. She then skillfully employs rich pigments, heavy glazes and sensual brush marks to create her unnervingly precise paintings, though she shies away from the term photo-realism:

“The technical process of painting is extremely important to me, as I investigate the material qualities (and possibilities) of paint. But I am always wary of the term photorealism. It occasionally attaches itself to my work. I feel that my work is not photorealist, as I never try and deny it is a painted surface, the glazing and brush marks are still evident and important. “

Born in Sydney in 1976, Anwen Keeling holds a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours and University Medal from the Australian National University, Canberra. She completed a Masters of European Fine Art from the Winchester School of Art, South Hampton University in Barcelona, Spain. She has exhibited in Spain, Japan and England and enjoyed sell-out exhibitions in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and the Gold Coast. Her work was selected for The Year in Art (2003) and Salon des Refuses (2004) at the SH Ervin Gallery, Sydney and her portrait of Sydney radio personalities Merrick and Rosso was exhibited in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2004) at the State Library of New South Wales. Keeling’s work is represented in the collections of the National Australia Bank and Australian National University, Canberra as well as numerous private collections in Australia, United States, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.

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