It is now twenty years since John Keane's appointment as the Imperial War Museum's official artist during the Gulf War first propelled him to national prominence, and since then his work has continued to address contemporary events from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the UK. Scratching the Surface Joining the Dots is John Keane's first solo show of new paintings in three years and this new exhibition finds Keane deeply immersed in the upheavals of the contemporary world. His abiding preoccupation is in seeking to address the unfolding conflicts of morality and the morality of conflict in the 21st century - however the bleakness of the subject matter is, as ever, mitigated by his hallmark wit and acuity of perception.
Having a common thread rather than an overarching theme, most of these paintings refer to recent events in the Middle East. Several new works dwell on Tony Blair's mercurial appearance at the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, whilst other paintings range in topic over the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, the release of the 'Lockerbie Bomber', collateral killings in Iraq, and not least the disastrous financial crisis that continues to engulf the western world.