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Keith Varney is unafraid of accuracy, of cutting clay and assembling it in panels as if it were a sheet of fine grained wood or folded origami paper. He has chosen to work with porcelain, a notoriously fickle clay body, but it has allowed him to test its limits, exploit its plasticity and celebrate its translucency.
His work is spare, pared down; it has a kinship with the works of the sculptor Constantin Brancusi. Like Brancusi’s columns, in Keith’s work the vertical repeats suggest towers pointing ever skywards. These corrugated works are light but their construction gives them surprising strength. The quality of their lightness makes them creatures of the air in antipathy to Brancusi’s firmly planted works.Keith understands the nature of corrugated porcelain, its affect on structural strength and how it can be coaxed into altered geometry. His work has presence; each piece he makes evokes a sense of curiosity in viewers who peer inside, view from every angle and observe the way the forms appear to change with the light. There is a conscious consideration of negative space and the way in which works interact with the volume of a room.
The light and shade cast by the angles, twists and corrugations create the shadowy greys and bright whites which sit on the porcelain’s surfaces. The introduction of stained black forms means that these particular sculptures are light absorbers rather than light reflectors. They bring darker moods into play. Keith has a restless mind, he continues to explore other materials and he is curious and hungry. Such attributes bode well for his developing work.
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