A maelstrom of colour, a stream of movement and journey into abstraction; this is the power of Ash Keating’s Ice Floes Response. Fashioned in response to Monet’s (1893) series Ice Floes and opening in parallel with Keating’s exhibition at Museum Langmatt in Switzerland, Ice Floes Response merges the past, present and future in an exploration of the environment, time and form. Transmuting Monet’s signature soft dappling of light into three dimensionality Keating indents a topography of presence. Sanding, brushing, scrubbing, painting and hosing; Keating’s work is a labour of tenacity. A rough terrain of adding and subtracting Keating’s work captures the duration of ice through its dimensionality. What once was whole, glittering against the winter sun is now eroding, flaking off and drifting downstream.
It is the break down, both of Monet’s ice and the broader ice caps, that inform Keating’s response. 100 years from now will Keating’s work serve as an artefact of what once was? A time capsule of the cold?
Keating is aware of these questions, stating: “Every step I take, except the final brushstrokes, is one that wouldn’t have been available to Monet 100 years ago.”
By blending his distinctly modern practice with soft dappled brushstrokes, Keating pays homage to both the style and exploratory practice of Monet.
Born and raised in Naarm/Melbourne, artist Ash Keating’s dynamic and vibrant practice taps into both the energy and environmental issues of the city. Having worked as an artist for over two decades Keating has honed a distinct style, one which incorporates abstract expressionism through an environmentally informed lens. Since 2004, Keating has exhibited prolifically both nationally and on the international stage; notably working with the National Gallery of Victoria, Linden New Art Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Museum of New and Old Art’s (MONA) Dark Mofo. With origins laying in street art, Keating’s practice transcends the entrapment of “the muralist” with his oeuvre extending over sculptural assemblage, performance and painting in the expanded field.
Peppered through streets, galleries, parking lots and restaurants alike each artwork hums with movement. Whether it be a gravity informed mural, ecologically minded performance or a texturally loaded painting, a sense of frenetic energy, wonder and excitement is packaged within each work. Whilst the work is fast and vibrant, loud and energetic, Keating finishes his work with a level of finesse. One he has honed partly by virtue of his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Monash (2003) and BFA Honors from the Victoria College of the Arts (2006).