Keith Coventry’s arrangements of detached color rectangles on flat white ground are pointedly suggestive of Kazimir Malevich in high Suprematist mode. We know the rhetoric: the revolutionary reach for universal principles, the high-minded refutation of figuration, the optical tension created by angled forms, the sublimity that arises from their unlikely balance and stasis—energy caught and frozen in perpetual becoming.
But Coventry’s compositions are more grounded—the push and pull of forms against negative space is a little lax, as if they had their minds on other things; there is something a bit work-a-day about them. And indeed, while the compositions did, in a sense, arise from the ambitions of Modernism, they are only indirectly Coventry’s. Each shows the footprint of the apartment blocks in one of four London public housing estates. The ink colors derive from the signage at each site.