Heather Keenan’s new work at Martin Bachelor Gallery is impressionistic at first sight but she also seems to be searching for the essence of things.
In her statement she talks about ‘erasing and building until a storyline emerges’ as if allowing a subconscious almost metaphysical process to take over.
There is clearly a debt to Turner here and French Symbolists like Redon and Moreau though Keenan is generally less specific in her subject matter, perhaps wanting to isolate the precise point where the impression becomes abstract much as Monet did in his later work.
In one group of paintings, which reminded me of Dore’s illustrations for Dante, figures migrate and gather across the canvas against ethereal backgrounds reflecting what Keenan calls her ‘sense of the universal collective.
Ultimately mysterious and unknowable.’
With these new paintings Keenan certainly seems to have struck a rich vein.