The contemporary realist painting of Brian Keeler is represented here to offer you an easy view of a selection of his art. His paintings have won wide acclaim during the course of his career and they are represented in many private, public and museum collections. Several prestigious galleries in the northeast United States show his work and his home studio in Wyalusing, PA also has a gallery where many original works and prints are on view.
One thing that struck me about your work is you don’t seem to fit into any known category. Your work is sort of like Academic Realism – sometimes even like Superrealism – it’s a little like Impressionism – but not really – occasionally you do a Magritte-like Surrealism, and there’s what I referred to at gallery night as that “hopped-up hyper-reality” like Van Gogh’s work – a sort of hyper-awareness.
- Warren Greenwood- Ithaca Times, November 2, 2011
In 31 years of editing art magazines, I can’t think of many other artists whose artwork is as varied, accomplished, or expressive as the pictures Keeler has created during his long career. He is an exceptionally talented, intelligent, and dedicated artist, and it has been a great privilege to share his work with readers of these publications. Above all, he is an intelligent, passionate artist who deals with aspects of the visual world that can be analyzed and explained, as well as those that are purely emotional.
- Stephen Doherty- Editor-in-Chief, American Artist Magazine- from a forward for an upcoming book. 2010
Brian Keeler was born in 1953 and he began his art study early in life as his father was a painter as well. More through osmosis than direct teaching he was inspired to paint and encouraged by his father's example. He continued to have an interest in drawing and painting throughout his youth, which led him to study first at Keystone College near Scranton,PA and then at the York Academy of Arts in York, PA. While in York he studied realistic painting under the auspices of Tom Wise, Ted Fitzkee, Virgil Sova, William Faulkler and others. He has since studied with several other accomplished realist painters including Dan Greene, Everett Kinstler, Jack Beal and Nelson Shanks. Graduating from the York School in 1975, he has pursued his career as fine artist ever since while winning numerous awards and having shows throughout the northeast and beyond. Portrait painting was the mainstay early on in his career with landscape and other explorations taking precedent later, but his work always showing a decidedly realist and representational preference.
He recently moved to Ithaca, NY but maintains a studio in his hometown of Wyalusing, Pa. He primarily devotes his time to painting landscapes, still lifes, figures, and portraits in oil, pastel and watercolor. His teaching has included giving workshops at various schools and art associations as well courses at Keystone College. He has also been a rostered artist with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and conducts residencies at high schools under the aegis of this state arts organization.
Brian has made the landscape and cities of Italy one of his painting projects since 1992 and over the last ten years and he conducted a landscape and figure painting class there in the medieval hill town of Barga, in northern Tuscany and Todi, in Umbria.
In the spring of 2004 he was honored with a retrospective of his own work along with his father, William Keeler’s paintings at the Everhart Museum in Scranton, PA. Brian Keeler authored a book about his father’s work that served as the catalog for this show. The book titled, “The Art Work of William Keeler- Pennsylvania Regionalist Painter” and was published in the spring of 2004 by River Light Press.
Involved locally in many arts projects, Keeler founded the Blue Heron Gallery in Wyalusing in 2002 and served as its director for 10 years, and he aslo originated the North Branch Art Trail and Festival in 1993- and the street festival is still continuing today.
Brian Keeler has focused on the Susquehanna River as one of his main sources of interest for many years. He derives the primary source of inspiration for his river images from the beautiful stretch of river in Bradford County, but he has also depicted the river shores in the Wyoming Valley near Wilkes-Barre and throughout the river’s course. His oil paintings are often begun with quick pencil sketches or studies done in pastel or with oil, usually in a smaller scale on location. He values the time on the river as an important part of the picture-making process. Sometimes stopping to paint while driving past a favorite location or in a kayak when he paddles out to paint these studies from direct observation, they all have their own way of contributing to studio paintings. His outdoor painting is done very much in the tradition of the Impressionists or like the original plien aire painter, the 19th century French artist, Corot. After making studies outside, Keeler then goes back to his studio and creates larger format oils based on these first-hand compositions and from photos he takes during the days on the river. He feels that there is something irreplaceable about being outside and experiencing nature first-hand while creating paintings in a single sitting. Feeling the air, hearing the ambient sounds of nature and even the background sounds of traffic, lawnmowers and people, seeing the effects of light and serendipitous occurrences of nature all contribute to an emotional connection to his subjects. One of the artist’s main attractions to any given landscape is the quality of light and the play of light on shorelines, clouds and topography. He especially enjoys the contrasts of the area’s older buildings in combination with newer more banal architecture, set against that natural beauty of the river’s edge.
Keeler is also well known as a painter of fine portraits, still lifes and figurative paintings.
Keeler’s work has won wide acclaim over the years. His paintings have been collected by many individuals, corporations, and museums. His work has appeared in feature articles in American Artist Magazine in 1992 and 2003 and in 2006 Pastelogram, a journal for pastel artists featured his art. Two books have been illustrated by Keeler in collaboration with their authors, one a children’s’ book and the other a treatise on a mystical theme.
Keeler’s work is represented at the following galleries – Laura Craig Gallery in Scranton, West End Gallery in Corning, NY, The Titus Gallery in Ithaca, NY, Butternut Gallery in Montrose, PA and the Rodger Lapelle Gallery in Philadelphia, PA.