‘a room’ by Willie McKeown now showing at Kerlin is rapturous. The display is subtle, gentle; akin to the work itself. The seeping of light up each square canvas is like ink billowing into water – slowly spreading its dye, seeping into the very fabric of the work. The eponymous’room’ many may have already seen, however in the closeted white cube space at Kerlin the effect is staggering. The room itself holds a single work to one side and on the opposite side is a cube cut-out in the wall; the sharpness of the cut-out side making direct reference to the other canvas. The room is painted yellow and fitted with a neon light which causes the light from the enclosed space to pour through the window cut-out and project onto the gallery wall alongside. When one looks at the window from the internal space of ‘the room’ one sees the exact same tonality of light visible in the referencing canvas on the opposite wall. When I ran from this show to the RHA’s Horse Show I noticed on a work by Perry Ogden (a black and white image of a young woman and a horse) that the exact same black rimmed plate mark appears in the McKeown works. McKeown seems to have inserted a perfect replica of a photographic plate mark around his paintings. This marker testifies to the acknowledgment of the role of light in his work, it is as if the artist were soaking up the light as an exposed plate would during the photographic process, instilling it into the canvas and holding it there.


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