In the spring pf 1997 Ian McKeever, in collaboration with the printer Hugh Stoneman in Cornwall, began work on a cycle of woodcuts, from which ninety-six images evolved over the ensuing three month. These ninety-six images consisted of twelve separate compositions with eight variations of each.
As the works progressed, each set of eight variations tended to move from blind printing, where the vestigial colour held in the print is the stain from the wood itself and the residual graphite from the initial drawing on the plate, to a gradual build-up of denser and deeper colour. McKeever was thereby able to achieve ever more astonishing effects of light, luminosity, and darkness.
There have been few twentieth century artists, for whom woodcut has been of equal importance as painting as a vehicle for expressing their emotions and their attitude to the world around them.
The results of this first cycle of monoprints was so rewarding that McKeever has since returned to Cornwall to create images on a truly monumental scale. He has invented new compositions at twice, four times, and even eight times the scale of initial works. The largest work is 226 x 320 cm.
These monoprints bear witness to McKeever's avid exploration of the endemic physical qualities of the medium. Whatever the scale, all have a remarkable fusion of colour and texture and have an inescapable immediacy, physicality and grandeur.
Monoprints from this cycle of images have already been acquired by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Gallery, London; Yale Center for British Art, Connecticut and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.