Biography of Keith Coventry
Keith Coventry's unique approach to painting finds him appropriating the styles and forms of Modernism to interrogate the conditions of modern inner city life. Since participating in the seminal Sensation exhibition at the Academy of Arts in London in 1997, Coventry's paintings have been lauded by the critics and so in demand that in 2005 he sold an entire series of 12 paintings before some were even finished.
Keith Coventry's work is never quite what it seems. His series of Estate Paintings appear on first sight to resemble the geometric shapes of Malevich, but on closer inspection we discover that these are the aerial blueprints found in the utilitarian notice boards at the entrance of most council estates. Favoring the use of workmanlike color that can often appear institutional, Coventry instills his paintings with a wry sense of detachment. Combined with his choice of subject matter, Coventry's work evokes an uneasy sense of cultural absurdity and mournfulness.
Fascinated by the failure of idealism, Keith Coventry identifies this in the utopian town planning of postwar Great Britain. Much of that idealistic city planning produced urban decay and alienation—as found in many contemporary housing estates. In fact much of Coventry's body of work highlights that aching chasm between social idealism and the modern-day reality of shabbiness and neglect.
Born in 1958 and being a graduate of Brighton Polytechnic and Chelsea College of Art in London, Keith Coventry, was awarded the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize in 2010. In Glasgow's Tramway Art Centre, in 2006, he received a mid-career retrospective and founded the not-for-profit City Racing gallery in South London in 1988-98. He regularly exhibits around the world and is in the permanent collection of huge international institutions like the Tate Modern, London, and MoMA in New York.