Keith Coventry’s (b. 1958, Burnley, United Kingdom) paintings and sculptures filter everyday subject matter—the British Monarchy, fast food, addiction, and public housing, among others—through the lens of modernist idealism, bringing the movements of twentieth-century art and their tendencies in dialogue with contemporary political, cultural, and social issues. He was featured in the seminal exhibition Sensation at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in 1997 and was a co-founder and curator of City Racing, an influential not-for-profit gallery in Kennington, South London from 1988-98. In 2006, Coventry received a mid-career retrospective at Glasgow's Tramway (Art Centre) and in 2010 was awarded the John Moores Painting Prize. His work has been exhibited widely in the United Kingdom and Europe and is included in collections worldwide, including the British Council; Tate Modern; Arts Council of England; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
White Black Gold
27 April – 28 May 2016
6 Burlington Gardens, London, W1S 3ET
Private view: 26 April 2016, 6–8 pm
London—Pace London is pleased to announce White Black Gold, an exhibition of new work by Keith Coventry. The exhibition will be on view at the ground floor galleries of 6 Burlington Gardens from 27 April to 28 May 2016.
In White Black Gold, Coventry continues his multi-decade exploration of the relationship between Modernism and its manifestations in the contemporary. In the exhibition—comprised of two new bodies of work and a monumental bronze—Coventry disabuses Modernism of its utopian promise, locating its residue in the debris of the social landscape.
In the new Pure Junk series, Coventry constructs white monochromatic paintings of smoothly sloping forms derived from the contours of McDonald’s golden arches logo. Constructed from wood, muslin, beeswax, gesso, glass and wood, these works assume a low-relief sculptural presence, emphasizing the object quality of painting. Evoking a strand of Modernist and post-war art, Coventry establishes a link between a hygienic aesthetic free of decoration and this larger emergence of junk food, which assumes further complexities in light of the all-natural media of the work.
A second group of new Junk works employs the geometry of the McDonald’s logo in small bronze and gold sculptures that literalise the golden arches euphemism. The use of bronze transforms the design motif of hamburger wrappers and, in Coventry’s words, “ennobles the ignoble.”
Destroyed Shop Window (2016), a cast bronze work modelled after a bombed-out storefront, will span the gallery. In much the same way that the Junk works lend a sense of permanence to the discarded, this large sculpture memorializes a transient moment in a building’s history, capturing it in a state of disuse while it awaits demolition or reconstruction. The sculpture highlights the lattice skeleton of the building, and, in Coventry’s conjuring of art history, evokes Modernism’s leitmotif: the grid. In contrast to historical notions of the grid, however, Coventry imposes a narrative on it, forcing the grid to be read in a specific context.
Keith Coventry's work will be included in Double Act: Art and Comedy, an exhibition presented at The MAC Belfast and curated by David Campbell and Mark Durden.