John Keane is a renowned political artist whose work continues to address the most pressing social and political issues of our time. His sustained artistic inquiry into military and social conflicts around the world has extended from Northern Ireland to Central America and the Middle East, where he was commissioned as the Official British War Artist of the Gulf War.
The collection of works in this exhibition have been created over the last two years amid seismic shifts in the domestic and global political landscape. From conspiracy theories to data mining, Keane’s subjects span the evolving and influential world of information technology and the resulting network of alternative facts, misinformation and cyber warfare.
Keane has used the metaphor of Flat Earth theory to explore perceived discrepancies between the modern age of evidence-based science and the spread of counter information and myths shared and popularised on the internet. The paintings depict the globe of planet Earth rendered in oil and a reactive metallic medium, creating a fluid exchange between illusory representation and the flat surface support. Keane’s use of metallic paint refers to the elements and minerals of the Earth’s crust from which the hardware of technology is fabricated, while the unpredictable process of oxidation in this medium also suggests global fragility.