Offramp Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition, Claire Keith: Paintings, from September 14 - October 12, 2014. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Sunday, September 14 from 2-5pm. There will be a closing reception and artist's talk on Sunday, October 12 from 2-5pm. The artist's talk will begin at 3pm.
Claire Keith's small contemporary still lifes draw the viewer in, transporting us from our shallow, fast-cut digital world to a richer, more contemplative state. Keith paints in oils from careful observation and preparatory drawings, skills that for the most part were thrown out with the proverbial bathwater in the mid-twentieth century.
And yet there is nothing still about Keith's still lifes. Swirling glazes and decorative motifs on ceramics, glassware, mugs and cups are juxtaposed with patterned textiles, veined plywood and reflective surfaces -- creating movement, contrast, and a commanding presence for the objects depicted.
Keith states: My paintings "are about 'things,' the relationships between them and their relationship to their surroundings. In the course of painting them, these ordinary things acquire a presence more important, more informative, and more mysterious than one first supposed."
Keith pays homage to Pop art in a pair of paintings, Coke Cups and Puzzle. The former depicts a cluster of empty red and white Coca-Cola paper cups with straws starkly displayed against a white background, while the latter, a vase containing two tulip buds with arcing stems, stands in front of a cardboard box advertising an Andy Warhol "Flowers" jigsaw puzzle within.
Several other paintings make poignant discussion-starting commentary on the "spot" paintings of Damien Hirst. In one, Flat and Round, an orange rubber ball and pink golf ball are situated on a small shelf and background covered with multi-colored dotted fabric, their hyper-realism contrasting wryly with the flat dots. In another, Games, an eye-poppingly realistic soccer ball and its smaller cohort, a ping-pong ball, dominate the flat black and white polka-dotted backdrop as Keith both literally and metaphorically paints circles around Hirst.
Claire Keith graduated from Occidental College and earned a Masters Degree in Art at California State University at Long Beach. She taught drawing, painting and design at Long Beach and Chico State Universities and various community colleges. She also taught Basic Drawing for the landscape architecture students at UCLA Extension. Keith lives and works in the Los Angeles area.
Claire Keith: Paintings is Keith's first exhibition at Offramp Gallery.