“Were it not for the shadows, there would be no beauty” ~j. tanizaki~ 

Opening Saturday August 8th, 6 – 8 pm.  Artist in attendance.


Elissa Cristall Gallery is excited to collaborate with film and TV set designer, JIM RAMSAY to present KECK an exhibition of sculpture and prints by American artist Pat Keck. The exhibition opens August 8 through to August 13th.

Pat Keck makes painted wooden sculptures inspired in part by puppets, dummies, scarecrows and automatons. Some are animated by cranks, leavers or motors and some by the viewers imagination.

Her characteristic style is based on an idiosyncratic abstraction of the human face and figure: frontal and symmetrical, with highly finished and brightly-coloured surfaces, and an anatomical articulation more mechanical than organic. The figures are gorgeously crafted, and each detail-from the wood joinery to the clothing to the moving parts-is designed and fabricated by the artist.

This stylistic formula is used to create beings that exist on the edge of humanity and consciousness: mechanical and utilitarian figures like scarecrows, dummies, toys, puppets, robots, and automatons; semi-sentient figures like somnambulists, ghosts, and monsters; and a host of androgynous “men” engaged in quasi-ritualistic and mysterious activities. Keck’s imaginative world is influenced by many sources that point roughly in the same direction. She is interested in folk and vernacular arts, especially those associated with carnivals, fairs, and the circus, as well as visual elements of other performing arts, most notably vaudeville and popular music of the 1970s and 1980s.

Pat Keck, Tau Tau

Pat Keck, Tau Tau, mixed media, 32″ x 14″ x 14″

Keck’s art, on a conceptual level, grapples with important philosophical and psychological issues that continue to perplex us: control and manipulation vs. free will and predestination, the relationship of the conscious to the subconscious mind, and the mysteries of life, self-awareness, sleep, and ultimately, death. These fears are leavened with humour, while intensified with experiential strategies derived from theatre. Keck’s work – especially the mechanical sculptures – involves anticipation, confrontation, surprise, spectacle, and the direct participation of viewers to make the figures “come alive.”

Pat Keck graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, major in Sculpture, BFA with honours in 1978.  She graduated from Skidmore College, 1975, with a major in Fine Arts.

Her solo exhibitions include: 2005 McColl Center for Visual Arts, Charlotte, NC, 2004 Kilkenny Arts Festival, Kilkenny Ireland, 2003 DeCordova Museum (retrospective exhibition) Lincoln, MA, David Adamson Gallery, Washington, DC, 1988 Lasorda/Iri Gallery Los Angeles, CA, 1988, 1985, 1984, Martina Hamilton Gallery, New York, NY, 1987 Grey Gallery, NYU, New York, NY, 1984 Delaware Art Museum Downtown Gallery, Wilmington, DE.

Pat Keck’s work is in private and public collections including the Addison Gallery, Andover MA, Fidelity Investments, Boston MA, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln MA, Boston Public Library, Boston MA, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA.  Pat Keck lives and works in Andover, Massachusetts.