Modular Synthesis

Steve Keene

Public Reception

January 16, 2016

Exhibition Dates

January 16, 2016 - February 13, 2016

Opening Reception:

Saturday, January 16 · 8 – 11 pm

Exhibition Dates:

January 16 – February 13, 2016

SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS in collaboration with Daniel Efram presents Modular Synthesis, the solo exhibition and Los Angeles-debut of artist Steve Keene’s Tattooed Plywood series. The show will be on view at Subliminal Projects from January 16 – February 13, 2016 and will include Keene’s multimedia works including an environmental retrospective of his signature hand painted multiples.

Modular Synthesis features more than 30 of Keene’s never-before-seen Tattooed Plywood pieces, as well as handmade furniture and over 750 hand painted multiples. This will be Keene’s first West Coast showing in 5 years.

Keene’s unique and prolific hand painted multiples are highly recognizable from the artist’s intrinsic connection and iconic works for influential bands and musicians. For Modular Synthesis, the artist pays tribute to some of the most important album art of all time including pieces in honor of The Rolling Stones, The Clash, Bob Dylan, Joy Division and many others.

The exhibition reveals the artist’s Tattooed Plywood works to LA viewers showcasing how he carves and etches each piece onto a half-inch wide plywoodat as his canvas; producing images of irreverently titled stacked playing cards and whimsical floral patterns against chain-link fences. Keene also produced custom frames for each of the works.

“I love to create environments and where people see my work is a huge part of how they participate,” Keene muses. “I show hundreds, if not thousands of pieces at a time and want people to be completely immersed. Hopefully they get a feel for the way the paintings are hung, because this is a big part of the performance of presenting a gallery show.”

A trained screen printer by trade, the hand painted multiples represent his version of poster art, which has endeared him to the Flatstock community as an honorary member for the past 35 years. Having produced by his count more than 300,000 of these beautiful mini-masterpieces, including nearly 80 per day for the last 35 years, Keene is the all-time most productive artist of this medium.

The three-dimensional modular furniture, fashioned out of Tattooed Plywood, is designed to enhance the experiential aspect of show. Gallery goers are encouraged to participate with the art, to sit and absorb into the environment.

“After two exhibits at The Santa Monica Museum of Art (2008 and 2011), its super exciting and appropriate to show the Los Angeles premiere of Modular Synthesis at Subliminal Projects,” says show curator Daniel Efram.

Keene has shown in galleries in Germany, Australia and in several other U.S. cities. Modular Synthesis at Subliminal Projects marks his gallery premiere in Los Angeles.

The opening reception for Modular Synthesis is Saturday, January 16 from 8 to 11 pm. The exhibition will be on view through Saturday, February 13. An RSVP is required for the opening reception to: rsvp@subliminalprojects.com.

About the Artist:

Steve Keene is a Brooklyn-based multi-media artist who has uniquely showcased his work internationally and locally. His focus series include hand painted multiples, wood sculpture and Tattooed Plywood. Though Keene earned his Masters of Fine Arts from Yale, his sensibilities lie somewhere between environmental architect, poster designer, woodworker and classical painter.

With an estimated 300,000 pieces in public and private collections, Keene’s hand painted multiples editions make him one of the most prolific artists ever. Taking a cue from screen printing and woodworking, he is well-known among independent music fans for creating original album artwork, video sets, stage sets and posters for such musical luminaries as Silver Jews, Pavement, The Apples in stereo, Soul Coughing, The Klezmatics and The Dave Matthews Band, amongst others.

Keene likes to think of his work as an endless painting with no boundaries – one that becomes an environment for people to participate. Watching him work on hand painted multiples is mysterious and engaging – the colors and strokes build over time in a rhythmic pattern and the form emerges much like a building takes shape as the bricks are laid. People watch, wait and ultimately walk away with an actual piece of his ongoing endless painting right in their hands.

In Summer 2014, Keene was the Artist In Residence for The Brooklyn Public Library, gaining recognition for his first official New York City show by performing his live painting exhibition on The Central Library Plaza, 3 days per week for over 3 months. This unique performance brought art to literally thousands of people over the course of his residency.

Keene has been covered on the pages and airwaves of National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Spin, The Brooklyn Paper and Filter, amongst many others. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams named June 14, 2014 Steve Keene Day throughout the City of Brooklyn.

SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS is a multifunctional gallery space promoting diverse forms of art while providing a forum for contemporary dialogue. It was established by Shepard Fairey and Blaize Blouin in 1995 and played an integral part in introducing skateboarding culture and design to the art world. Now located in the historic neighborhood of Echo Park, SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS continues to offer a platform for artistic exploration and innovation. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 pm.

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Exhibiting Artists

Steve Keene