This exhibition is the first solo museum presentation of the paintings of New York–based artist Caitlin Keogh (b. 1982, Anchorage, Alaska). Keogh’s work explores questions of gender and representation, articulations of personal style, and the construction of artistic identity. Her vivid, seductive paintings combine the graphic lines of hand-drawn commercial illustration with the bold matte colors of the applied arts to reimagine fragments of female bodies, natural motifs, pattern, and ornamentation. Drawing from clothing design, illustration, and interior decoration as much as art history, Keogh’s large-scale canvases dissect elements of representations of femininity with considerable wit, pointing to the underlying conditions of the production of images of women. Natural forms recur throughout her work as a means of depicting artistic style, and for the way that these different depictions speak to specific political and cultural contexts, such as her examination of the naturalistic designs of the 19th-century British textile designer William Morris and how they relate to his utopian politics.

The exhibition takes its title from an interpretive poem written by Charity Coleman for Keogh’s recent artist book Headless Woman with Parrot (2017). “Blank Melody” comes from a line in Virginia Woolf’s experimental novel The Waves (1931), a book comprised of soliloquies spoken by its characters, punctuated by brief third-person interludes describing a coastal scene at varying stages of a day. Keogh is creating a new body of work in response to Coleman’s imagistic poem for the exhibition. 

Caitlin Keogh is organized by Jeffrey De Blois, Assistant Curator.