Painting by Keith Frake
The Storm Version 2
I studied Fine Art at Newcastle and the Royal College of Art in London during the 1970s. My work was primarily film, video and performance related. I exhibited work in galleries and festivals both nationally and internationally.
I started teaching art and photography to children and eventually trained as a primary teacher. A career I continued for over twenty years.
As a teacher I continued to follow my interests in contemporary art some of which I introduced into the classroom.
My desire to start painting and drawing again and give form to my ideas evolved over a period of time. The images developed from a range of influences: the writings of Franz Kafka and Robert Walser, the poetry of Georg Trakl and the Book of Revelations. The films and writings of Andrei Tarkovsky were a strong influence. On a visit to the National Gallery of Scotland I discovered a small work by the expressionist painter Chaim Soutine, Le Mas Passe-Temps, Ceret 1920-21. I was particularly attracted by its swirling foray of thickly applied paint, darkness, distorted trees and buildings. Some of these ideas and motifs I introduced into my work.
My work over the last two years has tended to be dark in tone: using bitumen paint as a base surface into which I scratch and make abrasions. Much of my work is completed over long periods of time involving inscribing, peeling and sanding the surface, others are constructed relatively spontaneously and quickly. The same images appear and reappear in different forms and guises. Angels, trees, ladders, mountains and tiny stick figures that fall from the sky or hide underground. These images have become almost compulsive in their inclusion. Perhaps each piece of work reveals a small but unconscious part of a hidden narrative to which I am not privy.
I sometimes use watercolours or combinations of different medium. I also use a variety of materials including copper wire, lead and feathers.
I work in a small spare bedroom so the scale of my work reflects my limitation of space. I am currently looking for a studio space to develop large scale 2D and sculptural ideas.
Bitumen on Scratched Surface
Framed under Perspex