How to Make a Portrait builds upon Keegan’s interest in using snapshots and the experiential as starting points for his photographic and sculptural works. In the exhibition Keegan focuses on his father, Ed Keegan, a life insurance salesman, former art handler and accidental actor. Through videos, drawings, photography, and sculpture, the artist explores identity and his ever-changing perception of his father.
Ed Keegan has previously co-stared in Gerard Byrne’s video Why it’s Time for Imperial Again and was more recently cast as the ex-husband of actress Martha Plimpton’s character in Síofra Campbell’s film Marvelous, a selection in the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival. Scenes that briefly feature Keegan’s father were cut from the final version of the film, but are included in the exhibition. Keegan has made a third video piece, entitled Making a Video, made up of footage from a day spent with his father. Segments from Byrne and Campbell’s project, along with Keegan’s video piece, are the foundation of the exhibition.
Keegan is interested in the space found between the fictional roles his father plays in Byrne and Campbell’s films and the unrehearsed and “real” depiction of his father in his office. Keegan states: “My father was cast to play the role of Lee Iacocca for Gerry’s Imperial project, but my father has been a salesman for over 35 years. He was cast as an embittered ex-husband for his role in Marvelous, and he is a now a less embittered ex-husband. I am interested in the blurred space between these characters and how they add a layer to the man that I know as my father.”
A short 16mm film, focusing on the relationship between two friends of the artist, is also an exercise in capturing a portrait. Mika and Hanna will be screened at the gallery at the following dates and times: May 20th, May 25th and June 10th from 3 to 6 pm.
Matt Keegan graduated from Columbia University’s MFA program in 2004. His work has been included in recent group exhibitions at China Art Objects, Los Angeles, Sculpture Center, Long Island City and D’Amelio Terras, New York. He recently organized Etc., a project composed of 2 group shows and 12 events featured at Andrew Kreps from September 2005-January 2006. Keegan will exhibit work along with Leslie Hewitt in a two-person show at Wallspace this June. His annual publication North Drive Press, co-edited by Sara Greenberger-Rafferty, will be released in June.