Words by Katie Farley
Illusions of fantastical explosions that emerge like nuclear bombs characterize the works of Kim Keever, whose grandiose-scale photographs are designed by painstakingly composing miniature topographies in a 200-gallon tank that is then filled with water. These dioramas of conjured atmospheres are magically awakened with vibrant lights along with pigments that are dispersed at random, collectively inject evanescent impressions that Keever hastily captures with his large-format camera.
“’What makes you different from other artists?’ seems like a question one could write a book about” says Keever. “I suppose there is my sad story about my early years, but then a lot of other artists have sad stories. I would like to think that after many years of trying I have found something new and different. This has always been my goal. Though I’m seeing competition from other artists dropping paint into water, I’ve taken it much further. I’m over 42,000 photographs at this point using a high-res digital camera. Just taking so many pictures gives me a lot to choose from. I often crop and do slight manipulations on images for months at a time. And even if one is sold, there’s often a lot more to do in my estimation.”
The artist delivers the beauty of studied randomness to the world of art. “There are color forms, anthropomorphic and just plain strange forms that I could never hope to achieve as a painter but when I drop paint and ink into water, a whole new world comes into view. It’s different every time. So that’s what I’m trying to bring to the art world, something they haven’t seen before, something I haven’t seen before.”
Keever’s original and mesmerizing aesthetic is continually evolving by continually developing innovative concepts to see what happens. As well as experimenting with new shades of vibrancies, he places models in the tank to witness how the paint will conceal them underwater. Through capturing a multitude of photographs, the contemporary abstract artist acknowledges the array of possibilities as to the different direction of his works. “I’ve always believed that if you are sincere enough and really believe in the work you are doing (without kidding yourself), something amazing will eventually come out.”
His latest works are a continuation of the earlier pieces he’d created. “I can only say that I’m truly inspired to keep going” decipher Keever. “There isn’t any particular direction I think I am taking. It’s more like a beautiful journey with surprises around every corner. It’s a little like traveling for months with no need to hurry home.”
Encompassing the ability to formulate an illusion to arouse the wonders of our imagination, Kim Keever’s otherworldly pieces are conceptual eruptions that are genuinely unique.