Ken Kiff - Figurative Avant Garde Art

«Ken Kiff (29 May 1935 – 15 February 2001) an internationally known figurative artist, was born in Dagenham and trained at Hornsey School of Art 1955-61.Despite his success, Kiff’s position was never a comfortable one. His commitment to the pictorial values of modernism, his deep respect for artists such as Klee, Miro or Chagall, and his ideas about painting were often at odds with prevailing assumptions. In contemporary debates around abstraction versus figuration he tended to push past the battle-lines: ‘colour thinking’ as opposed to ‘image thinking’, pictorial form versus representational meaning, in order to get at something beneath their seeming differences. Images themselves arose out of the stuff of painting and an intimate relationship with a technique. His deep personal knowledge of poetry and music informed his sense of a painting’s structure. He saw colour in terms of images and images in terms of colour, which constituted, as he saw it, “the natural complexity of painting”.Colour and colour relationships interacted in his paintings with a range of images evoking the blissfully radiant and lyrical to the comic and disturbingly grotesque. ‘Fantasy’ as he saw it ‘was a way of thinking about reality’.

 

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