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'Spectrum Jesus', Keith Coventry

Portrait of Jesus painted in shades of blue

2009, Oil on canvas, wood and glass, 68.6 x 58 cm

Artist's statement

Keith Coventry creates paintings and sculptures which manipulate legacies of Modernism to address conditions of contemporary urban life. His work demonstrates an enduring interest in the dark flipside of idealism: urban decay, social failure, drug abuse and alienation. Many of the art historical references that Coventry deploys are defined by the Utopian ideals of Modernism, the aim of which was to refashion the world. He plays with these beliefs and shows them to be misplaced, even misconceived, the gulf between belief and reality stimulating a series of troubling undercurrents in work.

Coventry's idiosyncratic and personal project to create a form of contemporary history painting encompasses an immense range of references. His paintings and sculptures pit art history - Malevich, Rodchenko, Dufy, Morandi, Sickert, International Modernism, Minimalism and Pop Art - against images of heroism and idealism, and dissolute decadence and aberrant behaviour. Coventry's subjects range from the racism of the football terraces to the commodity status of the artwork, from the perfection of the proportions of a supermodel's face to the degradation of the crack den. 


Keith Coventry was born in Burnley in 1958 and lives and works in London. He attended Brighton Polytechnic 1978- 81 and Chelsea School of Art London 1981-82. He featured in 'Sensation' Royal Academy of Arts London 1997. Solo exhibitions include 'Ivory Towers' 1992, 'Suprematist Paintings I X' 1993, 'White Abstracts' 1994, all at Karsten Schubert London, 'Paintings' Tramway Glasgow 2006, 'Key Groups' Julius Werner Gallery Berlin 2007. Recent solos include 'Painting & Sculpture, Part I: Early Groups' Haunch of Venison London/Seomi & Tuus Seoul Korea 2008 and 'Paintings and Sculptures Part II: Works 2002- 2009' Haunch of Venison 2009. Exhibited in 'John Moores 21' 1999.