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The following images are of a solo exhibition of my paintings at Farnham Maltings theatre and arts centre, which took place in March 2009.
Keith Garrow was born in 1962 in Newcastle upon Tyne in North East England. He studied Fine Art in Nottingham and graduated in 1987 with an honors degree. He has developed his own style of abstract painting since then, and currently lives in West Sussex in South East England.
I begin my work by making random marks on the canvas, without any preconceived ideas at all of what the finished work is going to look like. The idea of sitting down and knowing what I am going to paint bores me to death - each painting has to be a journey, ending at a surprise destination. Chance and accident are used to provide the starting point for each artwork. To begin with I paint, quite literally, without looking at what I am doing. These lines and shapes then suggest things to me that I would never have come up with by conscious design alone, and I find the resulting abstract forms infinitely more exciting.
My paintings inhabit the ground between abstraction and figuration, and can suggest different things to different people. I regard them as a springboard for the imagination, like the shapes we see in clouds. What the viewer brings to the work plays an important part in what they see in it and therefore what they take away with them.
The paintings are in a constant state of flux and never take less than several months to complete. Sometimes I take paintings as far as I can and have to leave them for a while, before coming back to re-work them later. It can therefore sometimes be a couple of years between starting and finishing a painting.
The things I choose to develop, the shapes I leave, the elements I paint over, the colours I use - all these things are inevitably a product of my own experience, memories and environment. The paintings are built up in many layers, with fragments of earlier work contributing to the finished piece in ways that could not have been conceived when the paint was first put down. The painting is complete when there is nothing more I feel the need to change.
The names of the paintings are intended to hint at an element of what the work suggests to me when it is finished, but should not be taken as a clue to ‘meaning'. To try to articulate meaning and content has no purpose for me. If I could do that verbally there would be no need for me to paint. The paintings are what they are and what matters to me is the process of creating them.
Follow this link to read my thoughts on Understanding Abstract Paintings
The inspired staff at Engaines Primary School in Essex decided to do a hands on art project about abstract painting with their children. They chose to base their project on my work and used images of my paintings and information about my techniques to produce a wonderful piece of abstract art.
They really did a fanatastic job and produced a great piece which now hangs in their main hall. The pictures below show some of the children involved and the finished work itself.
Some of the children with their creation inspired by my work
The finished project produced by the children of Engaines Primary School
1984-7 Nottingham Trent University, BA(Hons) Fine Art (2:1)
1983-4 Barnsley School of Art, Foundation Course (Distinction)
Margaret Bryan Travel Scholarship (to Thailand)
Gulbenkian Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne
Bonington Gallery, Nottingham
Bede Monastery Museum, Tyneside
Farnham Maltings, Farnham, Surrey
Selected Group Exhibitions:
'Beautiful Day', Escape Bar and Gallery, London
Harborne Gallery, Birmingham
Cafe Gallery Projects, London
'Crossing Cultures', Cranleigh Arts Centre
Castle Eden Gallery, Durham
Battersea Contemporary Art Fair, London
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