The work explores the parameters and boundaries imposed by conventional painting practices by examining materiality and structure in painting and the use of drapery.
Drapery is defined by what it does. It exposes relationships, tensions, spaces, and forms. By bringing together the techniques of painting folds on panels alongside re-articulating the frame, the resulting structures create complex experiences of real and imaginary spaces. The frames of the artworks act as sites of activity, where the actual and imaginary conflate. Often, a drape marks this threshold. It functions as a transition within the liminal space of these installations. This approach is external, opening up possibilities beyond the flat surface of the work, and at times into the architectural environment.
Conceptually, the work is a catalyst for Keehan’s personal beliefs and experiences of female desire and womanhood. Female desire is generative and productive, abundant and generous. Drapery, in these instances, becomes a metaphor for the body, a skin-like organ that stretches, folds, and creases. It can retain beauty when active and likewise fade with age. By painting the fabric in these states she captures her experiences within it.
Allyson Keehan is a visual artist, researcher, and curator. She was awarded a PhD in Fine Art from the Glasgow School of Art in 2021. She holds a MA in Fine Art from Byam Shaw School of Art UAL 2004, after completing a BA in Fine Art Painting from Limerick School of Art and Design 2002. She has exhibited widely including London, Berlin, Ireland, and Scotland. Curatorial projects include: Yellow Archangel: Perceiving Anomalies UK 2021 with co-curator Paul Bramley and Whereabouts you are 2016 Glasgow with co-curator Viviana Checchia. Keehan is a member of S/TAC: Shell/ter Artist Collective, with artists Diana Copperwhite, Niamh McGuinne, Sharon Murphy and Geraldine O’Neill. In July 2023, they will have their inaugural show at the National Gallery of Ireland curated by Anne Hodge. Keehan was awarded the Presidents Award 2017, the Wellcome Trust scholarship 2015, the Merit Prize in The Golden Fleece Award 2012, and the Arts Council’s Bursary 2012. Residencies include Cill Rialaig 2014, Ballinglen Arts Foundation 2013, the RHA Studios 2012 and Takt Berlin 2010. She undertook an SGSAH research placement at Hospitalfield in 2018.