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01/09/2021 - 15/11/2021


Through an examination of painting’s modernist discourses and its gendered implications, Keown explores the female subject and her articulations by deconstructing established sets of historical concepts that legitimise them. In her more recent painting and video works Keown uses humor and negation and a practice she calls ‘shape-fussing’ as a way of opening up readings of the fractured self she refers to as the ‘hyphenated subject’ or ‘borderlander.’ The hyphen conjoins Keown’s paintings to her expanded practice which explores the possibility of crossover from the tradition of painting (touch, mirror) to video (digital surface) and back. She also links the hyphen to a critical methodology, where border figurations are explored through cultural paradoxes, affective adjustments and improvisation within her painting strategies.

For her exhibition at Leitrim Sculpture Centre, Keown contemplates aspects of life along the border including various representations of a divided subject in a divided state. The themes of smuggling and surveillance, for example, explores insights into the visibility and invisibility of the feminine subject in this particular site of contestation. Speaking as a 'nomadic subject', her relation to this border as a nomad who crosses it every-day and being partly of both places incurs a double role that is negotiated as an ‘ever-emergent space between two distinct yet linked terms’. (J. DeVere Brody, Punctuation: Art, Politics, and Play)

Mary Theresa Keown

Born in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, N. Ireland in 1974, Keown now lives and works in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim. In 2020 she completed a PhD at the University of Ulster reading feminism and the history of abstract painting. She graduated with first class honours B.A. in Fine Art 1997. She has exhibited her work throughout Ireland, and internationally. Her international shows include Tokyo, Japan, Bilbao, Spain. She has won many awards including the Ireland Fund of Great Britain- artist of the year award in 2001 and her work is housed in many public and private collections.

Past Residencies