FAD: Claudia Keep Talks To Phillip Edward Spradley

Phillip Edward Spradley, FAD Magazine, 31 Aug 2023

Claudia Keep is a painter who takes in the everyday world, and through her observations, she translates these moments into fantastical imagery reminiscent of postcards, snapshots, and childhood exploration. The intimate scale of the works highlight flickers in time and space, magic, and folklore. Keep uses images selected from her personal archive of iPhone photography.


Keep slightly reorients and reframes the images gathered for her paintings so as to further focus and highlight the particular subject matter for the viewers. In Keep’s paintings, an audience shares the same viewpoint that initially interested Keep in her voyage walking down a street, peering out a car window, gazing up into the sky, being in nature and with others. Keep primarily works with watercolor and oil paints, the subject matter can determine the medium. These are intimate moments of peace, reflection, and excitement are bolstered with the capturing of emotions and color, such as, what does it feel like alone in bed?


Through her paintings, Keep reminds us that looking outward and expanding your sense of perspective can further increase personal depth, exploration, and expressive possibilities. Keep currently lives and works in Vermont. She is represented by March Gallery in New York City.


Phillip Edward Spradley: You traditionally experience what you paint whether it is a cool classic car or a star-filled night, and you’re slightly obsessed with the “correct” if not perfect composition. In order to capture these glimpses you have to take a photo, or many photos, quickly. Has your search for influence always been more of a visual endeavor?


Claudia Keep: In college and for a bit afterwards I was trying to make conceptually driven work, employing imagery with specific symbolism–I had this idea that to make good paintings they had to be politically or socially charged. This work was far less visually driven and was very composed— my paintings were conglomerates of different images to create a narrative. I drew from images I saw in magazines or the newspaper, personal photos, and references to art history. This work always felt clunky and honestly a bit silly, and I realized fairly quickly that this sort of practice didn’t feel true to myself. The most important work I made early on were these little “practice” paintings on 5”x 7” panels, of iPhone images—though I didn’t think of them being enough at the time, they ended up being what I would consider the first real paintings I made, and the beginning of my current practice of painting that is really predicated on looking.

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