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Detail from Redhead in Winter (c) Keith Burt
Chair and Boots (c) Keith Burt 2011
Brisbane artist Keith Burt will hold his third solo exhibition of oil paintings at Metro Arts in the city from Wednesday 9th to Saturday 19th November.
As its name suggests, 'The Sitter' exhibition focuses on portraits -- beautifully executed images of friends who visited Keith's studio, spending a few hours there so that he could capture their likenesses on canvas. The familiarity between the sitters and the artist is reflected in the paintings, which show the subjects in relaxed poses, and deftly convey their personalities through subtleties like the tilt of a head or the way hands are clasped.
Another series of paintings shows the sitter's chair after these friends have departed - leaving behind a pair of boots, an empty glass, the usual human detritus. These intriguing works lead the viewer to ponder the identity of the absent figure, and what might have transpired before the moment we see now.
Scottish Builder (c) Keith Burt 2011
This exhibition is a new direction for Keith, whose solo shows in 2009 and 2010 concentrated on landscapes from around Brisbane. A number of these were scenes drawn from West End, where Keith now lives after moving from Melbourne with his family about four years ago.
At his 2009 show, I admired Keith's ability to capture Brisbane's unique light and architecture on canvas. He commented to me then that those paintings were, in part, a way of coming to terms with his new home, and its bright, hilly, meandering landscape. Another landscape by Keith -- this time in ink, wash and charcoal -- won this year's Marie Ellis OAM Prize for Drawing.
Featherstone and Wine (c) Keith Burt 2011
While 'The Sitter' finds Keith in the studio, and offers very different subject matter, his skill in rendering light and shade is still much in evidence. The current paintings also showcase his ability to capture nuances of emotion, with his portraits giving us a glimpse into the inner worlds of their subjects.
Teacup (c) Keith Burt 2011
In my experience, Brisbane has many talented artists who are virtually unknown to the wider public. Keith is one of those people. I'd urge you to head along to Metro Arts and take this opportunity to see his work while you can.
On a lighter note, if you can't make it to the exhibition, you can still see some of Keith's work in the Oct-Nov Big Issue magazine. The front cover features his painting of HRH Queen Elizabeth in her best CHOGM t-shirt and pearls.