Claudia Keep
Aubade
December 15, 2022–February 4, 2023

MARCH is pleased to present Aubade, Claudia Keep’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Keep’s recent oil paintings and watercolors span both spaces, conveying solitude through universal, intimate snapshots as a state fundamental to the human experience.

A single car drives along the road at night and its body all but disappears into both the pavement and darkened sky. The only clue to its nature are two luminous blurs, headlights, painted in the same palette and form as stars, lighting the way ahead toward a winding road on a winter night. A moth hangs on a screen, drawn to a potentially fatal painterly light. It is delicate, fragile, yet strong with purposeread more

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“(Keep) is constantly observing her surroundings and creating remarkably poignant remembrances of the familiar and oftentimes neglected elements that encompass her daily life.”

– Andrew Huff, Whitewall

Installation view, Claudia Keep: Aubade, MARCH, New York, NY. Photo by Cary Whittier.

“I don’t like to paint from my imagination. What inspires me is the world outside of me, what I see, where I find myself, and how I feel in space. I want to capture how it feels to exist which is, for me, very much tied to external realities. Though I’m not trying to render with absolute fidelity to reality, I am trying in some way to be faithful to a real moment.”

– Claudia Keep

Claudia Keep, Rainy Night in LA, 2022, oil on masonite panel, 10 x 12 inches.

Installation view, Claudia Keep: Aubade, MARCH, New York, NY. Photo by Cary Whittier.

Press Release

Claudia Keep

Aubade

December 15, 2022–February 4, 2023

 

A single car drives along the road at night and its body all but disappears into both the pavement and darkened sky. The only clue to its nature are two luminous blurs, headlights, painted in the same palette and form as stars, lighting the way ahead toward a winding road on a winter night. A moth hangs on a screen, drawn to a potentially fatal painterly light. It is delicate, fragile, yet strong with purpose. And a swimmer moves beneath the waves, its genderless body broken into dashes of color and gesture by a deft hand with the knowledge of what it is like to move through water, to be embraced, broken, and reconstituted by something so fundamental.

Living is a solitary experience. Along the way we encounter others, and a select few we will eventually call friend, husband, wife, brother, sister, mother, father, lover. But even the deepest of these relationships is finite, as one ultimately is born, lives, and dies alone. Claudia Keep understands this, responding with the creation of an evolving life inventory: paintings that depict solitude—not loneliness, sadness, longing—but solitude, the state of being alone and the basis of the human condition. Their success lies in their simplicity and the painter’s manipulation of light, both aesthetically and in terms of content.

The exhibition’s title is borrowed from a poem by Philip Larkin, Aubade, a harrowingly straightforward verse on the subject of death. Though she had never encountered the poem until recently, Keep’s paintings are in seamless dialogue with Larkin’s imagery, employing many of the same symbols to describe the unique experience of living: moths, wardrobes, and a sky that is “white as clay.” In French, the word aubade is translated as “dawn serenade”—a poem recited or sang at the parting of lovers with dawn’s arrival. Indeed, the early hours of the morning are an unusual, liminal period. Perhaps Keep’s paintings are best understood in this way, visual poems written during the briefest moment of life. 

Claudia Keep was born in Low Moor, Virginia (1993) and is currently based in Burlington, Vermont. She received her BFA from Bryn Mawr College (Bryn Mawr, PA). Her recent solo exhibitions include Day In, Day Out at Tif Sigfrids (Athens, GA), Claudia Keep at Tops Gallery (Memphis, TN), and Night Moves at MARCH. Keep has also exhibited at Blum & Poe (Los Angeles, CA), Venus Over Manhattan (New York, NY), Fortnight Institute (New York, NY), The Painting Center (New York, NY), Auxier Kline (New York, NY), and Ablebaker Contemporary (Portland, ME). She has been represented by MARCH since 2020.

 

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