The ultimate claim is that painting after the collapse of painting could be more indexical than photography. The moment of contact was key, its ultimate goal to create comrade things that are more like lovers than friends, like the canvases of Mark Rothko, which are supposed to quicken in proximity effects like silky skin, if you don’t get distracted by the security guards. There is no truth beyond that; abstract expressionism does not need any veracity devices, save that of the romantic authorial biography, which now finds ways to connect and internalize truth as base matter, to intern it in a personal form whose process or “happening” is far more important than any material result. Kevan returns to painting after the crash of painting, a site all the more specific because it is linked to a very definite cultural tradition deployed as a knowledge weapon in the Cold War. At the same time, unlike the original abstract expressionism, these canvases are not made with the pretense of being high art; instead, they are abreactions that delve beyond the image into the world of matter, much more about the physical human use of creating and destroying on a flat picture plane, just to ride it out, get it over with, and constitute something on the other side.
-- David Riff
...he knows how to make magic
-- Peter Selz
Gibson Art Projects
Berkeley Civic Arts Commissioner
Vessel Gallery, Oakland
Studio Vendome, 28 Grand St. NYC
Residency at Kala Art Institute, Berkeley
works acquired by the Buck Collection, Newport Beach
and the Centre George Pomipidou, Paris
Berkeley Art Center, 2011
LAMAG, Barnsdall Park, LA
Collective Gallery, Edinburgh
Picture This, Bristol
Taipei Biennial 2010
Wilfried Lentz, Rotterdam
See a short video of Peter Selz on Kevan's Work
"Que Manera De Vivir" 2013 oil and smoke on canvas 40" x 62"
Kevan is developing a series of works based on the I Ching, and performing rituals he calls "Carbon Divinations." Following on James Hillman's and Hans Vaihinger's phenomenal frame of "as if," this series of works and talks asks for the gods to provide guidance "as if" they exist. This conceit is functionally an invitation to take the imagination seriously.
This series of talks began with an exploration of Jess, Robert Duncan, Hillman and the healing powers of myth as played out in Berkeley during the post-WWII Big Science era. Kevan, along with many Californians, is open to ideas from eastern mystical practices, but he never strays too far from western mysticism, including alchemy and other themes from Jungian thought.
During his short apprenticeship with Harold Paris in 1979, Paris was working on a series of collages call "Dear Imagination." That series served as an introduction into the realm of post-Surrealism, or "Psychedelic Surrealism" as Kevan now identifies his image making.
Kevan also is well versed in the discourses taking apart Big Science extending from Bachelard through Thomas Kuhn, into Paul Feyerabend. Kevan is proceeding "as if" this California-centric counter-balance to Big Science and now, Big Data, is asking to be expressed through Kevan's works and talks. Certainly Jess and Robert Duncan expressed ideas from this same muse.