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Issue 60 - The Kitchen and Bathroom Issue

Issue 60

The Kitchen and Bathroom Issue

HABITUS has always stood ahead of the rest with a dedicated Kitchen and Bathroom issue of exemplar standards. For issue 60 we have taken it up a notch with our Guest Editor the extraordinary, queen of kitchen design, Sarah-Jane Pyke of Arent&Pyke, speaking directly to Kitchen and Bathroom design with some increadable insights.

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Big, beautiful and oozing with colour: The art of Ash Keating
Design StoriesJan Henderson

Big, beautiful and oozing with colour: The art of Ash Keating

Artist

Ash Keating

Photography

Dan Preston; Matthew Stanton, Melbourne Museum Photography

Ash Keating is a treasure in the landscape of Australian art. His works are powerful, dynamic and, while they can grace a home and provide beauty, remain masterpieces at the larger scale.


While art is an essential inclusion in our homes, it becomes a defining feature of a commercial space too. Most residences don’t have the capacity to showcase large-scale works, but in projects such as workspaces, lobbies, institutions and public areas, a painting, sculpture or installation adds gravitas and can speak so much of culture, people and place.

For Ash Keating, creating grand works is a passion. He has enshrined entire houses in paint as an artwork, designed enormous paintings that occupy the spotlight in commercial projects and he thinks bigger than most artists would dare to imagine.

As an artist, Keating is well-known, both in Australia and across the globe. His signature use of pinks, mauves and blues, light and dark and the distillation and translation of the spectrum of light sets his work apart. Over the past decades, Keating has established his place as a multidisciplinary visual artist par excellence through projects that range from site-specific installations, outdoor murals and performances to large and domestic-scale canvases. He is not just a painter but an explorer, expanding his interrogation of his art through performance, sculpture, video and interventions. His enormous outdoor murals, created with paint-filled fire extinguishers can be found across the landscape of Melbourne and beyond and certainly become the focal point of any space and place.

Duality (Fall install at Linden New Art), photo by Dan Preston.

While Keating’s art for collectors is perfect for the home, he has his eye firmly on the future where his works can, and do, enhance architecture and design to add definition to commercial projects. 

This fascination with the large-scale has been honed over his career where most of his exhibitions feature expansive works. In 2023 there was ELEVATION for the Shepparton Art Museum and PRESSURE at Bunjil Place Gallery in Narre Warren, Victoria, both very large painting exhibitions along with Ice Floes Response, At The Above in Fitzroy, Melbourne and Gravity System Response at Museum Langmattt, Baden, Switzerland. In each of these exhibitions, big is absolutely beautiful as Keating embraces large spaces and makes them his own.

While this is merely a few of the commissions undertaken by Keating last year, over the past decades it seems that he never stops creating and moving around the globe with an incredibly busy schedule. As he travels the world, he brings his signature style and artistic prowess to such disparate places as New York in the USA, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Monterrey, Mexico – and his works can be seen in most major Australian cities as well as regional Victoria.

Ash Keating - Big and beautiful
NGV Billboard, photo by Melbourne Museum Photography.

Keating’s studio is located in Melbourne’s north and the building was chosen to facilitate the making of sizeable works. It is here that he created a three-metre by ten-metre work for BVN at Freshwater Place, 2 Southbank, Melbourne, which is a five panel, polyptych of paint on fine thread Italian linen as well as a commission for The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne, that is 1.2-metres by five-metres. A project for Monique and Scott Woodward of WOWOWA was completed for a very special residence that could support large work as was a courtyard commission for Gillian and Ian McDougall, ARM Architecture. All of these projects are of an enormous scale, bespoke and impressive.

There is much thought that underpins each project, and the technique that Keating has developed is particular and layered: “I’ve honed my style in the studio, and I think what really separates me, historically and in the present as an artist, is in terms of the gravity drip-style painting. It is the way that I create the work on linen. There are many soft layers and then the intense tones put on either a dry or a wet surface on the linen. As it’s broken down, I break the paint down with water, and as it drips down heavily on the surface, I often spend up to three hours, slowly softening the gradient of that paint dripping down. What I mean by that is, as the paint keeps on moving as it’s quite heavy, I’m trying to hone this even further by creating a kind of levitating composition, where it’s not a heavy drip, it’s a real soft gradient, so it feels almost like it’s floating.”

Not only is Keating brave in the realisation of his art, he is also creating his own journey of determination by choosing to self-represent in Australia since 2019. Over this time, he has fostered and developed connections with other creatives in the realms of architecture, interior design and art consulting, as well as those who contact him directly. He looks forward to working on more commissions that grace the public arena and contribute to the buildings and spaces that are crafted by talented architects and designers who see his work complementary to theirs.

Keating’s work has been purchased by many institutions, including the National Gallery of Victoria, National Gallery of Australia, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Monash University Museum of Art and Artbank. However, to view his art in-situ, there is a large-scale mural titled, A Love Letter to a Very Rock Creek, which can be seen from the Hume Freeway at the gateway to Naarm/Melbourne in Craigieburn and at Freshwater Place, Southbank or The Ritz-Carlton, Melbourne.  

Ash Keating is a busy artist and soon he is off to Mexico, once again, to create. However, he is ever mindful to raise the artistic bar on the next commission, installation or exhibition where he gives voice to his passion for his extraordinary art.

Ash Keating - Big and beautiful
Ash Keating, photo by Jeremy Blincoe.
Ritz Carlton Melbourne, photo by Ash Keating.

Art and design at Camillo House


About the Author

Jan Henderson

Jan Henderson is currently an Editor and Program Director of the INDE.Awards at Indesign Media Asia Pacific. Her previous roles have included Acting-editor of Indesign magazine, Associate Publisher at Architecture Media, Editor and Co-editor of inside magazine and Interiors Editor of Architel.tv. As Principal of Henderson Media Consultants she contributes to various architecture and design magazines, is a regular speaker at events and has participated as a juror for industry awards. Jan is passionate about design and through her different roles supports and contributes to design in Australia.

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Issue 60 - The Kitchen and Bathroom Issue

Issue 60

The Kitchen and Bathroom Issue

HABITUS has always stood ahead of the rest with a dedicated Kitchen and Bathroom issue of exemplar standards. For issue 60 we have taken it up a notch with our Guest Editor the extraordinary, queen of kitchen design, Sarah-Jane Pyke of Arent&Pyke, speaking directly to Kitchen and Bathroom design with some increadable insights.

Order Issue