Keenan Derby: Secrets of the Sea

Keenan Derby’s abstract paintings develop in a carefully negotiated discourse between formation and collapse. What begins as a clearly articulated under-drawing, structured by a grid, undergoes multiple transformations, alternately concealing and rediscovering its original composition. The artwork is an amalgamation of the artist’s initial vision and the unpredictability of the paint itself, which acts an agent in its own application.

Growing up in a household of biologists, Derby traveled through diverse environments, learning to view the world with a scientist’s sense of observation and wonder. He sees nature as an endless stretch of raw material to inform his artwork, its inherent cycles of destruction and renewal representative of the impermanence of all forms. The work presented in Secrets of the Sea explores this concept through the theme of water and tides. Derby’s process breaks apart and unravels familiar images, like the sea picking away at the coast with time. His choice of medium—paint turned textural by the incorporation of sand—lends itself to this disintegration, turning an otherwise smooth line or shape into a corrugated ripple.

Installation view of Secrets of the Sea

Installation view of Secrets of the Sea

Secrets of the Sea, Derby's exhibition opening April 7th, 2017, was inspired by a 17th century depiction of a Dutch whaling expedition painted on ceramic tiles, reproduced in an eponymous issue of Reader’s Digest. The ceramic tiles form a grid not unlike the ones Derby uses in his own work. Combined with the natural degradation of the materials, they dismantle the scene. Drawn to the intersecting lines and and luminous seascape colors, Derby used fragments of this piece as a basis for his under-drawings for the series.

The finished work is only suggestive of its source material, deconstructed through layers of paint and sand. The coarse topography of each painting is reminiscent of decomposed organic material, like mossy, mildewed wood. The apparition of a mast or hull lingers in certain lines, cracks and whorls allude to stormy skies and choppy seas. Derby leaves no surface undisturbed. The irregular planes and mottled colors give every piece the impression of perpetual motion.

Keenan Derby in front of Grizzly, 2015.

Keenan Derby in front of Grizzly, 2015.

Keenan Derby's studio in Los Angeles, CA Large painting: Wave Maker (2016

Keenan Derby's studio in Los Angeles, CA
Large painting: Wave Maker (2016

Wave Maker 2016 Acrylic and sand on canvas 59 x 43 inches

Wave Maker
2016
Acrylic and sand on canvas
59 x 43 inches

 

Keenan Derby lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He received his MFA from Boston University and his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. He has exhibited in galleries nationally, including Craig Krull Gallery in Santa Monica, CA, and Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn, NY, and at the 2017 Art Market San Francisco art fair. His work is included in a number of private collections across the country.

5 Upcoming Art Events in Boston

1.   Art Affair

Image courtesy of Alpha Gallery and BADA

Image courtesy of Alpha Gallery and BADA

Where: Adelson Galleries Boston
When: Thursday, March 30, 6-8PM
Cost: Free

Boston Art Dealers Association collaborates to bring you an exhibition from eleven galleries under one roof.  

 

2.   Boston LGBT Film Festival  

Image courtesy of the ICA Boston

Image courtesy of the ICA Boston

Where: The Institute of Contemporary Art
When: Thursday, March 30, 8PM
Cost: $26 for members + students / $30 for nonmemebers

Returning for it’s 33rd edition, The Boston LGBT Film Festival returns to the ICA celebrating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community with a screening of Signature Move.

3.  Caron Tabb at Newton Open Studios  

A Home Called A House, Caron Tabb, Mixed-media on canvas

Where: Newton Open Studios, 859 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02459
When: April 1-2, 11AM-5PM
Cost: Free

Cindy Cuba Clements, Adrienne Shishko, and Caron Tabb invite you to visit their PopUprising open studio.

4.   MassArt Auction Preview Evening with MA-NMWA

Where: Massachusetts College or Art and Design
When:  Wednesday, April 5, 6-8PM

Cost: $30 for members / $50 for nonmembers (Buy tickets here)

Join MA-NMWA (Massachusetts Chapter of The National Museum of Women in the Arts) for a unique evening to preview art works to be offered in the MassArt Auction on April 8th.

Photo courtesy of https://massart.edu/auction

Photo courtesy of https://massart.edu/auction

5.   MassArt Auction

Where: Massachusetts College or Art and Design
When: Saturday, April 8, 6:30 PM
Cost: Varied by ticket (MassArt Auction Tickets)

Celebrate the 28th MassArt Auction with a live and silent auction, cocktails and more. Proceeds go to scholarship aid and academic program support.

Time is Running Out to See Christian Marclay's "The Clock"

Christian Marclay. Video still from The Clock. 2010. Single-channel video with sound, 24 hours. © Christian Marclay. Courtesy of MoMA, New York & Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

Christian Marclay. Video still from The Clock. 2010. Single-channel video with sound, 24 hours. © Christian Marclay. Courtesy of MoMA, New York & Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

We seldom think about the connotations of a clock when it hangs unnoticed in the back wall of a room, but as soon as our eye meets its ticking hands, an emotional reaction is inevitable. Christian Marclay’s “The Clock” analyzes time-based art using time itself, taking the viewer on a 24-hour journey through every era of film. Every minute is a clip from a film that notes the exact time to the second, synched up to the time zone of its exhibition space.

While the film itself has no plot or continuous narrative, it manages to build and break tension on a scene-by-scene basis. It follows the expectations built by decades of cinema, traveling from one dark hallway to another. Every minute compounds our anxiety and desire for the suspense to culminate into some resolution, before suddenly subverting it and switching gears completely. Each character waits for something that will never occur, runs after something they will never reach, introduces a gun which will never be fired. Sometimes several seconds pass without any sign of a clock, and you find yourself waiting, searching for someone to show you the time.

Filled with action, humor and intrigue, The Clock is a multifaceted examination of our relationship with time, built from the most time-reliant medium. It acknowledges the expectations and emotional impulses generated by an awareness of time without indulgence, and brings us face-to-face with our mortality by simply letting us watch it pass.

The Clock is on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through January 29th, 2017.