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Chris Johanson, Charley Harper and Matt Keegan

Color, materials and concepts in a three-artist show

by Karen Day
on 10 January 2011

While on first blush the three artists currently showing at San Francisco's Altman Siegel gallery all appear to have different techniques and themes, the exhibit compares their "meticulous use of materials" and often witty conceptual works. The show includes paintings and mixed-media pieces by Chris Johanson, Matt Keegan and Charley Harper—a trio that collectively spans generations but possess a similar outlook on life's curious moments and the human condition.

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Harper, the most well-established of the three, laid the foundation for many modern graphic designers with his ability to deconstruct a complex image into simple geometric forms—a style he called "minimal realism." While visually disparate, Keegan's pared-down approach feels similar to Harper's, with a no-frills use of text or boldly-emphasized shapes leading his style.

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Like Keegan, Johanson's subjects also tackle societal issues through text, but the Portland, OR-based artist uses a color palette that more closely resembles Harper's vivid combinations. Alluring hues draw viewers in and, like both other artists in the show, his deliberate choice of materials is evident.

The group show runs through 5 February 2011 at Altman Siegel. See more images in the gallery below.

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