Keoni-C Critique by Timothy Warrington

Keoni-C is gifted with a refined and sophisticated talent in his ability to entirely transform rustic maple hardwood into delicate woven and beaded three dimensional artworks following native American traditions and culture. He is an exceptional fine artist who takes inspiration from the American Southwest tribal cultures and mythology born from storytelling and legend which he skillfully interprets with a contemporary aesthetic. He expertly deploys a combination of historic techniques ranging from the application of fire to organic dyes to create visual illusions and inherently elegant artworks.
 
Keoni-C impeccably conceives both Tribal Native American and Contemporary artworks that, in each instance, communicate a message to the viewer that articulately expresses his being through every carefully considered detail of his pieces. Aspects of Keoni-C’s artistic process is very traditional and takes its inspiration from the storytelling, legends and imagery of native cultures, much like the work of Jim Adkins whose strong affinity with the Washoe tribe is tangible in his creation of wood basketry. As a consequence, Keoni-C stunning artworks burst with earthy hues and expressive movement in unison with a complex use of line and form which undoubtedly references the culture from which the artist’s ideas are rooted.
 
Keoni-C’s contemporary collection, while also inspired by native cultures and folklore, are rich with modern inclinations in their design and encompass aspects of the avant-garde that are albeit seamlessly tied to the historical techniques and values of wood artwork. The remarkable skill and level of artistic execution required in the realisation of such artworks cannot be understated and the profound beauty contained within the subtle and intricate details that can only provoke deep intrigue and curiosity in the spectator. Keoni-C’s artworks act as a medium through which traditional stories can be carried into the future and contribute to an ongoing journey that transcends time while effortlessly linking the present with the past.
 
Shape, texture, colour and geometry are delicately explored in Keoni-C’s woodwork. The artist acknowledges the unlimited dimensions contained within the dynamic nature of wood as a medium and enriches the pieces with poetic narratives and historical context captured with an expressive labyrinth of indelible carvings. Every detail is the result of an intellectual creative journey, traversing the potential of the hardwood by passionately and meticulously cutting or burning the wood. Each artwork requires more than 50,000 individually rendered marks, every detail another avenue for which the artwork can express its deep and timeless meaning.
 
The diverse variations of vivid colour in the artworks are achieved by carefully altering the temperature and pressure of each burn, attentively slicing the maple with sharpened steel. Each delicate incision Keoni-C makes further enables him to communicate his meaning eloquently through a deep understanding and connection with his medium. The artist often favours working with reclaimed or repurposed maple hardwood as his blank canvas in order to fully explore the limitless creative possibilities that are born as a result of his instinctive connections to nature. Keoni-C fully achieves his ambitious artistic goals in creating a true homage to the original woven baskets from which he takes so much inspiration albeit with his own innovative style. The results are graceful and modern masterpieces which preserve the mystery and historic nature of storytelling and mythological research that are the integral foundations of the creative process.
 
The impressive hardwood carvings Keoni-C creates have a wonderfully modern inclination and possess an abundance of complex shapes and inherent movement, much like the work of David Nittmann, giving the illusion of a composition containing moving parts. This technique, implemented by both Nittmann and Keoni-C, is undeniably advanced and creates a sense of mystery, allowing the observer to revel in the unmistakable talent of the artists and their mastery. It is also possible to detect the inspiration of Lincoln Seitzman in Keoni-C’s woodworks, evident through their joint passion for transforming hardwood into carefully constructed and creative artworks. This comparison is clearly seen through the breathtakingly elaborate pieces which present immaculately balanced forms, patterns and lines across Keoni-C’s works, the result of an intrinsic attentiveness and meticulous relationship of the medium.
 
Keoni-C’s intelligence as an artist is a fundamentally important factor and is confirmed by the exquisite level of attention to detail required his work. The profound sophistication and depth of research that the artist has evidently undergone to uncover such remarkable aspects of his craft is resonant in his artworks. Renaissance Art indeed influences of very ancient sculptors including Nikko and Zeuxis can be detected by an attentive observer.
 
The skill that Keoni-C has demonstrated in his career of carving wooden basketry is awe inspiring. He is gifted with immense talent as a fine artist and has developed his process into a form of artistic expression that is stunningly unusual pursuing his passion for the medium and eloquently communicating the continued narrative of  history and tradition that is tangible in every miniscule detail of his work.