Terrence KellerTerrence Keller, painter (b at Edmonton, Alta 29 Jan 1947). An abstract painter from Edmonton, he is one of several who have emerged as original contributors to modernist painting in Canada in the 1980s and 1990s. Keller studied painting at the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, graduating in 1973. After a brief sojourn in Toronto he returned to the West, settling in Edmonton.
Keller has exhibited extensively, especially in the Canadian West, has participated in the Emma Lake Artists Workshop (2000) and Triangle Artists Workshops both in New York State (1982) and Barcelona (1988), preceding the Barcelona Olympics. His work has developed steadily for some 30 years. Today he is one of the finest painters of his generation in Canada.
His paintings have roots in the Analytical Cubism of Picasso and Braque, and more recently the all-over paintings of the Americans Jackson Pollock, Jules Olitski and Lawrence Poons. His works offer a kind of dishevelled Cubism, as though the elements of painting - brush strokes, scrapes, and spatters of thick acrylic paint - had somehow collapsed into place. Their structure is deceptively firm, like slabs of slate in a natural stone wall. Keller's easy and irregular paint application has an untidy air, but for all that it is natural and unaffected; any difficulties that it may cause soon fall away.
His formats consist primarily of traditional squarish rectangles and long, horizontal rectangles. In the first, horizontals and verticals imply a grid upon which the painting falls loosely into place. In the second, the rectangle itself maintains tension across the surface, allowing a more casual organization, often related to a central, slanted "spine."
Keller has his own way with colour. It is subdued but rich, exploiting earth colours and grays, the colours streaked, dispersed and "crumbling." Saturated hues are set up only to be cancelled or muted by close-valued neutrals. His colour seems never to come straight from the paint box, yet seems invariably right for each picture. Despite these general characteristics, each of Keller's paintings insists and succeeds on its own terms. There is little carryover from one picture to the next.