Interested in the overtly physical acts of interruption, disruption, and radical revision that collage can offer, Carol Keller uses it to both build structure and intentionally undermine that structure. The collage process can constantly redirect a work, generating restless energy into an ostensibly stable form. Keller’s goal is to arrive at compositions that contradict themselves and refuse to settle too easily into secure relationships, but rather suggest latent or shifting possibilities.
Introducing shapes and elements that at first seem to have no place in the composition – to have arrived from another artwork or blundered into the wrong room – she allows them to become prime players in upsetting a placid or familiar composition. For Keller, these initially objectionable shapes begin to take on meaning when they allow the composition to tack in a direction different from her original intention. It is this new “independence” that can infuse the composition with an animate (and occasionally obstinate) vitality.
Keller’s recent work has increasingly referenced her interest in the compressed, frontal space found in much early modernist painting, collage, and relief sculpture: a space where the shapes that inhabit it become its very architecture.
Carol Keller is a Professor of Art at Amherst College. She has won numerous awards for her work, among them a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant and a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. She lives in western Massachusetts.