The associations between natural organic forms and the rigidity that can be found in architecture is implied in these paintings by the juxtaposition of opacity and transparency; gesture and mechanically made marks; thick and thin lines; the tone, the color, and the intensity of the paint. What interests me most about these oppositional forces is how they work with and against each other. Tension and release of energy is an experience that I encounter when I am in architectural spaces.
Todd Keyser's use of constructed pictorial space maximizes the expressive potential found within both the self-imposed limitations chosen by the artist and the inherent constraints of working on a rectangular canvas. His use of paint treatment, texture, and color vary from painting to painting, but occur within repeating, predetermined geometric structures. Through Keyser's range of related versions, the viewer is reminded of the richness which can be experienced through variations on a theme which occur frequently in the world of music and, in the visual arts, that harken to Josef Albers' chromatic painting series: "Homage to the Square."
Inspired by conflict such as the desire to convey the atmospheric qualities of a space (experienced through light and color relationships) and the depiction of the locations of elements in a space (communicated through geometric and linear elements), Keyser balances parallel competing concerns in his works. With his compositions rigorously decided, Keyser finds openness through engagement with the edge of the canvas and the physical space beyond the image. He says that the "intent [of his compositions]...is to suggest that more could be added to each painting...that the space beyond the painting can continue." In one work, Interiority, the repeating structure of the torso-sized paintings is reconfigured by the addition of a second smaller canvas. The additive shape becomes a uniquely emphasized aspect of the painting and explores Keyser's fascination with the realm in which a painted work can operate as both an image and an object.
Keyser’s photographic work is historically tired to modern painting’s location of abstraction within the real world. One only has to nod to the early collage work of Picasso and Braque, the drawings and collages of Ellsworth Kelly, or the theoretical writings of Yve-Alain Bois. Keyser’s oeuvre expands in two directions: towards modernist geometric abstract painting and various photographic experiments – such a project allows Keyser the necessary freedom away from the often proscribed meta strategies that act as a shackle to contemporary painting.
The photographic work displays a sense of the everyday, demonstrating that art can be found anywhere you look. Art is a fundamental reality and the camera allows Keyser to democratize these painted interventions. He judiciously paints over the photograph bringing concentrated attention to the image in a particular way that shatters the naturalistic artifice of the photograph turning the everyday experience into that of an aesthetic one.