Philip Van Keuren Early Collages, 1970-1974

March 15 - May 15, 2004

This exhibit brought together for the first time a selection of the early art works of Philip Van Keuren. Then an Associate Professor of Art in the Division of Art at Southern Methodist University, Van Keuren made many of these works prior to any formal university study. Self-taught to a large degree, the artist collected discarded blotters from his night job at the City of Dallas print shop to create small scale studies influenced by poetry, direct observations of the world, and folk art – specifically 19th century and early 20th Century American quiltwork. Painstakingly pieced together, the earliest works (on the wall to the right) not only reflect his patient and careful nature but perhaps more importantly a young artist's first artistic thoughts as he responds to his immediate world. Later works shown here (along the back and right-hand walls) served as studies for large-scale paintings done during his BFA studies at SMU between 1972 and 1974 before departing in January 1975 for New York City to attend the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. Van Keuren returned to SMU at the conclusion of his Whitney studies earning his MFA in 1977. Acceptance to the prestigious McDowell Artist Colony and a lack of studio/storage space in 1978 necessitated the destruction of all the large paintings from that 72-74 period. While Van Keuren has worked in many media over his thirty-five year long artistic career, the early works remain important, (even critical,) to him and are central to understanding his work to date.