Allyson Keehan MFA

Job Title:

PhD Research Student


School of Fine Art



Black Satin in Blue Light Ballinglen Drape, Painting Installation 2014
Black Satin in Blue Light Ballinglen Drape, Painting Installation 2014

Black Satin in Blue Light Ballinglen Drape, Painting Installation 2014


Allyson Keehan

An Investigation into Drapery in Representational Painting and Painting Installation.

Supervisors: Dr. Alistair Payne, Dr. Amanda Thomson

My practice-led research is into painted drapery and painting installation. The two major concerns in my work are painting drapery and light. Drapery is a means of creating space in representational painting. Traditionally used in painting to fill a void in scene or as a means of ‘covering up’ in figurative painting. It can imply seduction, fantasy, fashion or even divinity. Taking the theories surrounding drapery, space and painting installation, I investigate the practicalities, possibilities and limitations through the medium of oil paint and painting installation.

My methodology is through deconstructing the formal attributes of painting and altering the accepted form of presentation. I investigate the structure of the painting and the physical properties of canvas, as it is stretched and clinging from the support. Canvas is a drape, a cloth that can be manipulated for purpose. Interlinking the painted subject and physical materials creates a dialogue, like a snake eating its tail, about what is ‘real’ in Representational painting.

To begin each painting I block out daylight and florescent light, and hang drapery, which is then drenched in blue light. I paint from this set up. The blue light is comparable to a coloured air or gas that floats in and around the paintings atmosphere, almost breathable. An actual substance rather than emptiness. Air has a weight, a pressure, likewise the blue light takes on a weight, though whimsical and lightweight it may seem.

I leave areas of the canvas revealed, or blank. I see this as opening the canvases into the space. Areas of process and flatness are juxtaposed against the detailed painted surface. This is a means of exposing some of the truths behind the painting and invokes dialogue around representational painting and technical process. The result is 3D paintings that have canvas draping from the supports or ripped from it.