Ian McKeever (British, b. 1946) is a photographer and painter who often juxtaposes the two mediums in his practice. While his early work as a painter grew out of a conceptual interest in landscape, his later works give prominence to more abstract forms. In focusing on elements of the human body, architectural structures, and the qualities of light, McKeever pushes the notion of photography as a literal, figurative representation of reality. His photographs are often extreme close-ups, cropped, or turned upside-down before being over-painted, de-emphasising their figurative qualities.
There is a certain type of layering that features in much of McKeever’s work: broad brushstrokes criss-cross over the canvas, partially covering patches of colour. Oil and acrylic are applied to the same canvas or same piece of wood, occasionally completely hiding fragments of photographs, occasionally intentionally leaving part of the canvas exposed. At the same time, the artist is acutely attentive to the quality of light and its presence in the painting, creating depth without bulkiness. Often the works are monumental in format.
In 1989 McKeever was given the prestigious DAAD scholarship to live and work in Berlin. This was followed in 1990 by a major retrospective exhibition of his work at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. Since 1971 he has exhibited extensively including major exhibitions at the Kunstverein Braunschweig in 1987, the Porin Taidemuseo in 1997, the Kunsthallen Brandts Klaederfabrik, Odense in 2001 and 2007, the Morat Institute, Freiburg in 2005 and 2007, the New Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen in 2006, the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2010, the Sønderjyllands Kunstmuseet in 2011 and the Josef Albers Museum, Quadrat Bottrop in 2012.
McKeever has taught extensively in Great Britain, Germany, and the USA. He has held several teaching positions including Guest Professor at the Städel Akademie der Kunst in Frankfurt, Senior Lecturer, Slade, University of London and Visiting Professor at the University of Brighton. In 2003 he was elected a Royal Academician. He has also published many texts and essays primarily concerning the nature of painting.
Ian McKeever’s work is represented in leading international public Collections, including Tate, British Museum, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; Museum of Fine Art, Budapest; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk; Glyptotek, Copenhagen; Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Boston Museum of Fine Art and Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut.
Ian McKeever lives and works in Dorset, England.