English painter and printmaker. Self-taught as an artist, he began to paint in 1969. Influenced by land art and especially by the writings of Robert Smithson, he first exhibited installations of large paintings that envelop the viewer, and that incorporate material taken from the wild. In the mid 1970s he also realised a number of projects in the countryside around London. In the late 1970s he changed direction when he began to make more gestural abstract paintings; these were still the result of research on site, in the form of drawings and photographs (which were often attached to canvas to form a ground for the paint), but they marked a decisive move towards more subjective and Romantic interests. Typically at this time he worked with diptych formats, pairing a large photographic image with a painted surface. Beside the Bramble Ditch (1983; Preston, Harris Mus. & A.G.) is typical of his violent, choppy and gestural abstraction of the early 1980s, the strong contrast of white against darker colours suggesting a pattern which would continue over the next two decades. In the early 1990s he evolved a softer style of billowing veils and dramatic spatial effects. Hartgrove Painting No. 2 (1992–3; see 1994 exh. cat., p. 13), a large black and white canvas from a series made at his rural Dorset home, exemplifies McKeever's use of grid structures in this period, and further demonstrates his interest in colour contrasts.
Ian McKeever: Paintings 1978–1990 (exh. cat., essays L. Biggs, W. Herzogenrath and W. M. Faust, London, Whitechapel A.G., 1990)
Ian McKeever: Hartgrove Paintings 1992–1994 (exh. cat., essay N. Lynton, London, Bernard Jacobson Gal., 1994)
Ian McKeever: Border Crossings: Works on Paper 1981–1996 (exh cat., essays M. Tucker and T. Godfrey, Brighton, U. Brighton Gal.; Harewood House, W. Yorks; Coventry, U. Warwick; 1996–7)
Ian McKeever: Colour Etching (exh. cat., essay P. Gilmour, London, Alan Cristea Gal., 1997)
10 December 2000