Widely admired for his work which takes aspects of modernism and grafting them on to socio-political issues, Coventry appropriates global symbols of junk culture-the golden McDonald's arch, in particular-and re-contextualises them, inviting the viewer to consider these logos afresh in a gallery context. Working in white monochrome, or colour, he hones in on the curves of the infamous 'M', cropping, recasting and framing, to striking minimalist compositions.Read More
In his extensive 'Estate Painting' series Coventry focuses on the architectural layouts of London's notorious tower blocks and council estates and distils them into abstract colour block patterns which have been likened to works by Russian Constructivist painter Kazimir Malevich. In employing these tropes of modernism, Coventry has said he is returning to the original ideas of utopianism behind these urban projects-now widely regarded as failures. As Coventry puts it, this kind of social housing: 'it was a promise given at the beginning of the 20th century that was unfulfilled.'
Coventry studied at London's progressive Chelsea school of Art. He exhibited in the legendary 1997 Sensation show at the Royal Academy, and was part of the elite Young British Artists who dominated the UK's visual art scene. Charles Saatchi was one of his first collectors.
Coventry's work has been exhibited widely in the UK and Europe and is included in collections worldwide, including the British Council; Tate Modern; Arts Council of England; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2010 Coventry was awarded the John Moore's Painting Prize.
In 2018 Reflex presented the first Benelux exhibition of Keith Coventry's work. In conjunction with the show, Reflex published a book including all Coventry's 'Pure Junk' works and with an essay by Sir Norman Rosenthal.
Text courtesy Reflex Amsterdam.