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.