Steve Keene…. now there’s a name we haven’t encountered for a year or two, first encountered a load of his very energetic band related paintings for sale in Rough Trade record over in Portobello Road, West London, somewhere in the mid 90’s, kicked ourselves again and again for not buying one of his King Crimson pieces. There were two of his pieces hanging in the Organ office for ages (where did they go?), Steve Keene has always been an exciting painter, he has his own rules, his own style, Steve Keene is exciting, a unique painter, and it seems he’s as prolific as ever over there in his United States homelands, seems he has a solo show opening at Subliminal Projects over in Los Angeles early in the New Year, caught Shepard Fairey posting about it yesterday… Happening over there, but we like him over here, so today’s thing is painter Steve Keene….
When I first discovered the work of Steve Keene in the 90’s I was fascinated by his process of working quickly to create multiple versions of paintings that would allow him to keep the prices low, yet make each painting an original. I soon realized that he was addressing a lot of the coolest indie scene subject matter and that from any of my diverse interests there was probably some connection only a few degrees of separation from Keene. I’m really excited about the work he’s doing for “Modular Synthesis,” his show opening at our gallery Subliminal Projects later this month. The exhibition will feature his interpretations of classic album covers and hip Los Angeles landmarks, as well as the debut of his Tattooed Plywood pieces. This guy must be the most prolific artist of all time and his process is fascinating; it’s a must-see show! Hope to see you on January 16th! – Shepard
Modular Synthesis features more than 30 of Keene’s never-before-seen Tattooed Plywood pieces, as well as handmade furniture and over 750 hand painted multiples. This will be Keene’s first West Coast showing in 5 years.
Subliminal Projects is at 1331 W. Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, 90026 (the show runs from January 16 – February 13, 2016) Click HERE for more info.
About the Artist: “Steve Keene is a Brooklyn-based multi-media artist who has uniquely showcased his work internationally and locally. His focus series include hand painted multiples, wood sculpture and Tattooed Plywood. Though Keene earned his Masters of Fine Arts from Yale, his sensibilities lie somewhere between environmental architect, poster designer, woodworker and classical painter.
With an estimated 300,000 pieces in public and private collections, Keene’s hand painted multiples editions make him one of the most prolific artists ever. Taking a cue from screen printing and woodworking, he is well-known among independent music fans for creating original album artwork, video sets, stage sets and posters for such musical luminaries as Silver Jews, Pavement, The Apples in stereo, Soul Coughing, The Klezmatics and The Dave Matthews Band, amongst others.
Keene likes to think of his work as an endless painting with no boundaries – one that becomes an environment for people to participate. Watching him work on hand painted multiples is mysterious and engaging – the colors and strokes build over time in a rhythmic pattern and the form emerges much like a building takes shape as the bricks are laid. People watch, wait and ultimately walk away with an actual piece of his ongoing endless painting right in their hands.
In Summer 2014, Keene was the Artist In Residence for The Brooklyn Public Library, gaining recognition for his first official New York City show by performing his live painting exhibition on The Central Library Plaza, 3 days per week for over 3 months. This unique performance brought art to literally thousands of people over the course of his residency.
Keene has been covered on the pages and airwaves of National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Spin, The Brooklyn Paper and Filter, amongst many others. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams named June 14, 2014 Steve Keene Day throughout the City of Brooklyn”.
“SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS is a multifunctional gallery space promoting diverse forms of art while providing a forum for contemporary dialogue. It was established by Shepard Fairey and Blaize Blouin in 1995 and played an integral part in introducing skateboarding culture and design to the art world. Now located in the historic neighborhood of Echo Park, SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS continues to offer a platform for artistic exploration and innovation. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 pm”