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Tuscarawas News Detail

Kent State University's Downtown Gallery Presents "Recent Work" Exhibition by Paul O'Keeffe

Posted Feb. 12, 2013

Kent State University Downtown Gallery will present "Recent Work," exhibition by Paul O'Keeffe, February 13 through March 9 in the Downtown Gallery. The gallery will host an opening reception on Thursday, February 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., which is free and open to the public.

Paul O'Keeffe's work over the past decade is situated in two strains of thinking about contemporary practice that tend to be seen as oppositional but that he wants to put into play. First, there is the effort, characteristic of late modernism, to remove the work from narrative. Color, form and materials are used in such a way as to defy the viewers' desire to make meaning of the work apart from the immediate encounter with the form.

Out of Body, 2012 steel, cast gypsum, flashe paint 22.5 x 20.25 x 6.25 inches, by Paul O'KeeffeHis recent work is similarly about this first moment of engagement. The pieces are large, the colors are somewhat jarring, and there are few immediate clues as to the meaning of the work. It is the corporeal experience that first impresses. Intense fluorescent hues often destabilize the form and make an overall image difficult to grasp. At the same time, there are indicators that encourage a more analytical approach, and that therefore move the work beyond the phenomenological.

The titles of the works, somewhat obscure, might be apparent to fans of late 70s bands like The Jam, Gang of Four and Suicide, music that emerged contemporaneously with the decline of the modernist era.    

Paul O'Keeffe was born in Dublin, Ireland. As an undergraduate he attended St. Martin's School of Art, London and the National College of Art and Design Dublin. He received a MFA from the University of California at Los Angeles in1981. He joined the faculty of Kent State University in 1983 where he is currently a professor. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions both in the United States and abroad including exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Dublin.

His most recent solo exhibition was held last October at 21 Street Projects, New York. He is the recipient of a number of awards and honors including a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ford Foundation grant, an Arts Midwest/National Endowment for the Arts Award and several awards from the Arts Council of Ireland. The Ohio Arts Council has awarded him an Individual Excellence Award for 2013, and marks the eleventh time he has been honored with this award. Paul O'Keeffe's work is represented in many public and private collections including The Arts Council of Ireland; Bayer USA, Pittsburgh; Progressive Insurance, Cleveland; Kaiser Permanante, Cleveland and the Cleveland Public Library. Paul O'Keeffe's statement.

The Downtown Gallery is located at 141 E. Main St. in downtown Kent. Hours are Wed. through Fri., 12-5 p.m. and Sat. 10 a.m. -4 p.m. For more information, call (330) 676-1549 or visit


For more information contact:
Anderson Turner,, 330-676-1549