I discovered Kim Keever’s work when making my list for museum/gallery visits for my trip to NYC at the end of this week (any suggestions are welcome). On first glance Mr. Keever’s images looked more like paintings than photographs, but then I noticed that the landscapes were underwater and I was intrigued. Kim’s work is on exhibition through 12/31 at Kinz, Tillou, and Feigen Gallery in New York City. Check out his set up in the first image.
“Viewed from a distance, Kim Keever’s large photographs are of moody, damp environments – mist hovers over boggy ground, tropical plants crowd the embankment, streams snake across the dirt – and everything is oppressed by an uncommonly active sky with thick clouds that stretch for miles and then close off the view.
Yet there is something disquietingly artificial about these landscapes – the ground’s pigmentation is several tones too bright, and plants in the middle distance have sharp contours, throwing off our sense of spatial relationships.
Up close, the trees appear too rigid under this turbulent cloud ceiling and there is residue of an elaborately staged production. These are photographs of an environment Keever has constructed inside of a fish tank – algae grows on the tank’s interior, and droplets of water run down the outside of the glass.
The method is no secret. At the entrance to Keever’s recent exhibit at the Kinz, Tillou + Feigen gallery in New York, there was an explanatory wall text and a behind-the-scenes photograph illustrating how it’s done. Inside a 100-gallon aquarium, Keever creates the topography – miniature mountains, trees, plants and rivers – with plaster, reflective Mylar and other materials; he then fills the tank with water, dropping in pigments to create the swirling movement of the sky. He lights the tank with colored gels and then photographs it with a large-format camera. The resulting C-prints are similarly large, some 51 x 68 inches and have the disturbing effect of seeming both enormous and miniaturized simultaneously.”
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