Art Review: Topography lesson with Richard Keen at Elizabeth Moss Galleries

Richard Keen has done it once again. Having reviewed a recent mural installation of his in Portland, I didn’t expect to be writing about him so soon, but Keen’s “Island Geometry: Monhegan” is one the most groundbreaking exhibitions of landscape painting I have seen in a while.

“Monhegan” is a large show occupying both of Moss’s gallery spaces. The 25 oil paintings on canvas fall into four distinct modes. Two follow logic that Keen used to drive his past work: marine landscapes divided into outlined geometrical forms by various forms of logic – hills, clouds, water, rocks, trees and so on. The newest group of these leaves behind Keen’s penchant for visual dialogues between the forms of nature and human marine culture. Instead, it reaches back towards the modernism of Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Milton Avery and cubism to investigate a compositional logic in which objects in the foreground garner sculptural form while the other elements knit themselves into a quilt-like, two-dimensional background.

Read the full review here:

Rockweed No. 3

36" x 30"

Oil on canvas

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