In his new paintings, the English artist continues to explore the places where he had grown up and where he still lives nowadays: Essex, England.
Simon Keenleyside depicts these places with an astonishing ability to disclose the mystery and ambiguity around them; in his paintings he evokes not only physical places, but also mental states, desires and the anxieties that accompany him during his trips to discover the territory.
Most of the themes of his works are the elements-memories from the past which, scattered on the territory, characterize the landscapes of Essex: the remains of the First and Second World War, water towers and containers abandoned by local factories, partially demolished boundary walls which encircle the town. The presence of the ghosts from the past gives the landscapes a halo of mystery and at the same time it offers moments of sharing of an English collective memory.
In the new paintings, the artist re-interprets “his” landscape thanks to an intense light which sheds from the neighboring coastal suburbs and which is reflected and illuminates all the adjacent landscapes and, thus, creating a strong chromatic tension.
The result is given by the use of the fluorescent paint which characterizes the whole structure of his work.
In the works by Keenleyside, the materiality of the painting is always prominent; the act to add and to remove matter, to fill and to hide what has already been painted, contributes to the creation of a world full of surprises, where the painting goes beyond the matter and becomes landscape itself. The landscape is, thus, turned into a place where familiarity merges with dreamlike visions, and the transcendent beauty of a place – where the ordinary and the magic meet – is revealed.
Simon Keenleyside, 1975, lives and works in Great Britain. After his MA at the Royal College of Art, the artist exhibited his works at many exhibitions in the United Kingdom, in Denmark, in America and in Italy. In 2002, he was awarded the BOC Emerging Artist Award and in 2004 the Lexmark European Art Prize. His works are part of many important collections, like Boc group, Comme de Garcons, Hiscox plc, Mario Testino, Amlyn Collection, Marsh McLennan, RCA Collection, TI Group.