Ash Keating's Gravity Response System #1 (diptych), 2015, is the winner of the 2015 City of Greater Bendigo and La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre Facade Project competition. The image is one of a series of works on linen painted in January 2015, and marks a new direction in Ash Keating's studio practice.
Working across a conceptual, site-responsive and often collaborative art practice that incorporates painting, sculpture, installation, photography, video, performance and public interventions, Ash Keating has, over the past decade, raised a wide range of social and environmental issues within his many projects and artworks, such as systems of production and consumption, climate change, urban gentrification, waste and sustainability.
In the catalogue essay for the Gravity System Response exhibition at Blackartprojects in Melbourne in April 2015, Dr Vincent Alessi, Curatorial Manager at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne wrote:
'While Keating is best known for his large-scale outdoor spray-painted murals, his performances and interventions and his video-based artworks, he has in more recent times returned to studio-based painting: an approach which he began when attending art school. This new body of work, Gravity System Response, is the most recent outcome of Keating's "studio time".
This series of works, dominated by an intense deep red hue created by the continuous layering of thinly applied paint, shimmers and invites the viewer to step into and merge with the paintings. Regardless of scale they form part of the viewer's immediate environment, creating a place of solace, as if one is standing before an endless landscape overcome by its sublime beauty. The works undoubtedly read as landscapes, however, they oscillate in perspective and impression.
Gravity System Response #1, a five metre long diptych that envelopes the viewer with its intensity of colour and enormity of scale, has a sense of depth where one feels as if they are looking into a warm and luxurious void. A space where one can weave in, out and sideways throughout its multiple layers of washed paint. One does not so much look at this painting as they do through it.
While hinting at the soul of the Australian landscape—the desert red of the interior—and composed with the semblance of a horizon line, these paintings, similar to much of Keating's practice, have a deep spiritual and emotive quality. Like Rothko's celebrated paintings, Keating's works are ethereal, spiritual and ultimately human. They have the power to move us and to link us to the "other". They are an experience and a revelation and they help us understand and see our world through a different lens.'
Dr Vincent Alessi
Ash Keating lives and works in Melbourne, Australia, and is represented by Blackartprojects, Melbourne