Artist’s Statement

Recently, my work has become increasingly figurative. When I first started using the figure as a motif and my organization of forms mostly followed a kind of biologic symmetry, friends said that I had arrived in my “classic” period. Now, when the forms are more loosely organized and somewhat wildly asymmetrical, they tell me that I am in my “baroque” stage. I would guess from here, it’s just a short hop through the Rococo to decadence. Too bad.

Actually, I see the progression of my work somewhat differently. I’ve been greatly influenced by Minimalism and its power to concentrate the viewer’s eye with precision. The frontal aspect of bas-relief and near-symmetric composition in my work owe themselves to this approach. In a symmetric situation, even a small departure is instantly apparent, and commands a lot of visual weight. As my work has become more gestural in character, it has also torn itself further away from symmetry. At present, I would say that I am looking for a kind of momentary, ethereal quality in these pieces, hoping that the viewer will sense several different possible positions of the figure within the boundaries of the forms – somewhat as one perceives dance. Fragmentary as these figures are, they seem to me to be more sensual, more vibrant, more transmutable.

Art should never try to copy life, or to reproduce it. And yet, it is only when an object begins to organize itself into its own kind of logical semblance of order and unity that it becomes that magic thing, a work of art. Watching that presence arrive under my hand is, for me, the primal motivation to both make and view art. Look – there’s something new in the world!

Keith Long
New York
June, 2008

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