Keith Coventry creates paintings and sculptures which manipulate legacies of Modernism to address conditions of contemporary urban life. His idiosyncratic and personal project to create a form of contemporary history painting encompasses an immense range of reference. These paintings and sculptures pit art history - Malevich, Mondrian and Warhol - International Modernism, Minimalism and Pop Art - against images of heroism and idealism, dissolute decadence and aberrant behaviour.
Coventry has an enduring interest in the dark flipside of idealism: urban decay, social failure, drug abuse, and alienation. Many of the art historical references that he deploys are defined by the Utopian ideals of Modernism, the aim of which was to refashion the world. Coventry 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 his work.
He first started to manipulate the McDonalds logo around 2000 in his ‘Junk Series’. The discarded paraphernalia of fast food that was collecting outside his studio stirred several inspirations; firstly he noticed that the iconic yellow, red and black colours the company used for their logo struck his own palette originally inspired by the Constructivists, secondly he noticed the resulting pattern of the crumpled logos and the cropped composition of the cartons were abstracted, forming an immediate pure abstract form. Lastly the whole ethos of found object through to painting fitted extremely well into the artist’s main drive through his work: Modernism, society and decay. He started to revisit the idea a year ago and has since made it his main focus.
1982, Chelsea School of Art, London, M.A.
1978–1981, Brighton Polytechnic, B.A.
1991 Keith Coventry, Karsten Schubert, London, July 1–August 1
1991 Keith Coventry, Karsten Schubert, London, August 1–September 1
1992 Keith Coventry: Ivory Towers, Maureen Paley, Interim Art, London
1992 Keith Coventry: Ivory Towers, Karsten Schubert, London
1993 Keith Coventry: Recent Paintings, Karsten Schubert, London, October 27-November 27
1993 Keith Coventry: Recent Paintings, Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, February 4–27
1993 Keith Coventry: Suprematist Paintings I–X, Karsten Schubert, London, January 12–February 6
1994 Keith Coventry: Recent Works, Curt Marcus Gallery, New York, 1994.
1994 Keith Coventry: Works, Gardner Arts Centre, University of Sussex, Brighton.
1994 Keith Coventry: White Abstracts, Karsten Schubert, London, November 18–December 23, 1994. (Catalogue)
1995 Keith Coventry, Ridinghouse Editions, London, 1995.
1995 Keith Coventry: White Abstracts, Curt Marcus Gallery, New York, October–November.
1997 Keith Coventry, Spacex Gallery, Exeter, United Kingdom.
1997 Keith Coventry, Kohn / Turner Gallery, Los Angeles.
1997 Keith Coventry: W.A.F.S. (update), Beaconsfield, London.
1997 Keith Coventry, The Showroom, London, October 15–November 16. (Catalogue)
1998 Keith Coventry: Crack, A22 Gallery, London.
1998 Keith Coventry: Greeks, Richard Salmon Gallery, London, May–June.
1998 Keith Coventry: White Abstracts and Estate Paintings, Galerie Frahm, Copenhagen, October–November. (Catalogue)
2000 Keith Coventry, Emily Tsingou Gallery, London, September 9–October 28.
2002 Keith Coventry: It has been said that only the pervert does not do drugs, Emily Tsingou Gallery, London, March 8–30.
2002 Keith Coventry, Doggerfisher Gallery, Edinburgh, February 7–March 3.
2004 Keith Coventry: New Works, Kenny Schachter Rove, London, November 26–December 30.
2006 Keith Coventry: Endangered Species, Fine Arts Society, London, January 17–February 19.
2006 Keith Coventry: Paintings, Tramway, Glasgow, August 18–September 17, 2006. (Catalogue)
2007 Keith Coventry: Key Groups, Julius Werner Gallery, Berlin, October 1–November 3.
2008 Keith Coventry: Anaesthesia as Aesthetic, Haunch of Venison, Zürich, March 7–April 12. (Catalogue)
2008 Keith Coventry: Heroes and Racists, Fine Arts Society, London, June 25–July 17. (Catalogue)
2008 Keith Coventry, Seomi & Tuus Gallery, Seoul, Korea, August 1–September 5.
2008–2009 Keith Coventry: Copper and Silk, Paul Stolper, London, November 28–January 10.
2008-2009 Keith Coventry: Painting and Sculpture Part I: Early Groups, Haunch of Venison, London, December 10, 2008–January 31, 2009. (Catalogue)
2009 Keith Coventry: Painting and Sculpture Part II: Works 2002–2009, Haunch of Venison, London, June 8–August 15, 2009. (Catalogue)
2010 Copper & Silk: New Works by Keith Coventry, Museum of London, May 17–October 7.
2010 Keith Coventry: Echoes of Albany, The Lightbox, Woking, Surrey, United Kingdom, May 14–July 24.
2011 Keith Coventry: Collection Particulière, Seomi & Tuus Gallery, Seoul, 2011.
2012 Keith Coventry, Black Bronze: White Slaves, The Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, United Kingdom, July 14–September 16, 2012. (Catalogue)