Though this painting appears to be a purely white abstract work, the outlines of two figures standing side by side can just be made out. In his series of "White Abstract" paintings, Keith Coventry has used a highly modern, minimalist style to portray subject matter which is typically associated with the British establishment (in this case, the two Coldstream guardsmen). By working in this way, Coventry establishes a dialogue between modernism and abstraction on the one hand, and traditional figurative representation on the other.
Keith Coventry was born in Burnley. He completed a BA at Brighton Polytechnic in 1981, and was selected in the same year for the Northern Young Contemporaries exhibition in Manchester. After an MA at Chelsea School of Art in 1982, he started to exhibit at City Racing, an artist-run space in Vauxhall, London, which he ran with other artists including Mark Wallinger. His first solo exhibitions were held in London in 1992 and 1993, where he showed paintings mimicking the work of Russian artists Malevich and Rodchenko but which used the ground plans of council estates to generate the block patterns. He was included in the Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in 1997.
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