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Valerie Keane. Detail of Afterburner, 2016. Photo courtesy of High Art, Paris


The desire to be everything

14 JANUARY - 18 MARCH 2018

Valerie Keane’s biomorphic sculptures evoke Frankenstein’s monster through the merger of myriad sources of inspiration. Each series of references establishes contradictions. The works are hybrids, both human and architectural in form. Their surfaces are skins—stretched, pierced, and captured mid-metamorphosis. Keane intentionally courts the unfamiliar in these works. They are meant to feel Other, both Gothic and alien.


Keane mines how architecture inspires and controls the way that people act. Looking at alternative spaces that enable fringe behavior, such as nightclubs or punk venues, the artist highlights the relationship between appetite, action, and space. Simultaneously she echoes the futuristic high-rises of new urban landscapes such as Dubai and Seoul, which speak to societal aspirations, contrasted with imagined space only possible within fictional worlds.


These hybrids precariously hang from the ceiling, allowing gravity to function as collaborator—implying organic stalactite-like growth. Concurrently, exposed industrial hanging points evoke bondage, control, and desire.  Each sculpture’s glossy surface reflects distorted visions of their surroundings. Culminating in works that are responsive even as they are stationary.


Keane’s acrylic and metal works are sculpted through an elaborate process of laser cutting and drilling—composing forms that are defined through tension. This signature technique is influenced by Keane’s past experience working in a neon and sign studio where scraps and cutoffs served as raw material for her early work. This source of material establishes a visual conversation with advertising, Americana, and kitsch.


Transforming in meaning through the eyes of each viewer, the exhibition takes on a performative function. Keane’s work sets a stage for the viewer’s subconscious and serves as a proposition for how built space forms the way we live.


Keane studied at The Cooper Union in New York City. She has shown extensively at galleries throughout the United States and Europe. The desire to be everything is her first museum exhibition.


Curated by Justine Ludwig, Deputy Director / Chief Curator


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