David Keefe

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Artist Statement

For the past few years, I have been exploring how multiple histories collide in timeless fashions. This concept has become a catalyst for my painting compositions that explore and expose the boundaries between reality and memory, between chronologically lived experiences and simultaneity. Fishing as a young boy and serving a tour of combat duty in Iraq converge inexplicably. The icy platform of Minnesota fuses with the ruin-dotted deserts of the Middle East. Fish become mortars and mortars become fish. A white landscape is thickened with earth tones to provide a sense of terra firma, yet it is also dream-like. These juxtapositions converge in my recent work, creating a visual conversation that can begin to inform the viewer the continuity in life experiences, their interaction with the cosmos.

Vitality and action are breathed into my painted landscapes through the recurring themes of active figures stuck in time, surrounded by unstable bombs. These bombs, posing as fish, threaten the characters representing me, all against backdrops of disjointed landscapes from multiple histories. Simultaneously as a young child ice-fishing and as a young adult fishing for bombs in Iraq, my memories are no longer the past and develop into a new present tense. This unstable paradigm seemingly becomes a labyrinth of simulated possibilities presenting a world for my characters to contemplate and choose their destiny, yet their fate is as fragile as the convergence of bombs and ice. These paradoxes create a visual tension, and nonetheless, these bombs could explode this fragile world of ice and ruins, blowing it all sky high. In a blink of an eye, my memories, experiences and reality could all cease to exist.

David Keefe

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