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By Peter Frank

Titling his photographic series "My Front Yard," Keith King infers that the images have been taken and/ or take as their subject a confined and intimate stretch of residential landscape. That may be; but, in their unlikely phantasm, the images themselves render the title ironic, if not absurd. King's photographs describe a realm of colossal cataclysm or sub-atomic metamorphosis – or both. They conjure unstable and wondrous atmospheres, many suns dawning into storm clouds, myriad torrents flushing away civilizations we can only presume have lived and died beneath our feet. Apparently, the universe explodes at King's front door.

From experience, of course, we recognize that King has wrested his elaborate depictions from the camera's own weaknesses, its readiness to imitate the limitations of the human eye and to add to that the slippage of a technology we keep tinkering with but never quite perfect. But King's abstractions are not compromised by our ability to postulate the distortions of extreme close-up, smeary lens, or other presumed trick. There is no trick. King's photographs succeed in describing impossible places because, as with any engagement of pure form, they acknowledge our need to see something, to find a describable if still indistinct presence in the blurs and blooms blossoming in the delicious murk. King has painted with the camera, the "pictures" he paints as vibrant and provocative and mysterious as their pigment-on-canvas counterparts – more so than many, in fact, given the depth of field they capture.

Painting with the camera – and yielding abstract imagery thereby – is itself a time-honored practice. King's predecessors are many and illustrious. But he honors at least a century of photographic experimentation with his own radical dissolutions of normality, transcending both the old clichés of the jiggled camera and the new ones of Photoshop intervention. Keith King does more in "My Front Yard" than capitalize on happy accident: he invents a language of shape and tone where discovery happens constantly. It needs to happen constantly; otherwise the cosmos of "My Front Yard" would grind to a halt. But, like life, it never does.


Untitled 3
Untitled 18
Untitled 51
Untitled 14
Untitled 59
Untitled 28

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