The Work of Duane Keiser

Made famous by his ‘A Painting a Day’ project, Duane Keiser’s paintings transform insignificant objects into delicate studies of light and texture.  For two years the artist posted a postcard-sized painting every day and auctioned each of them off on ebay propelling him to a staggering record of sales.  He is far more than a gimmick though and has exhibited in prestigious galleries across America since the late 80s.  Now a professor at the University of Richmond, Keiser’s status and reputation reflects his achievements and initiative but, more importantly, it reflects the quality of his work.  His paintings have a similar quality to memories.  They capture subtle details and focus on subjects like tempting Pb&J sandwiches indulgent and sumptuous, ready to be bitten into and freshly cut, the jam just beginning to dribble over the soft crumbling bread slice.  His cracked and broken eggs, elegantly described with smooth shells like toned skin, their entrails oozing with intact or pierced yolks creeping across the ambiguous surface they’ve emerged onto.  Keiser describes his subjects, large and small, in a beautifully tactile sense and seems to capture a unique anticipation that arises just before we enjoy a more tangible action like eating.  This sense of anticipation makes his still lives anything but still and there is always a sense that something is about to happen, that this moment is fleeting and finite.  His paintings describe the complexities of different objects and how they react with light and gravity but the rich expression of fluent brushstrokes in oil paint still remains unlaboured.   He paints light refracting, reflecting and casting shadows that animate his modest subjects and elevate them as objects of simple but central importance.

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