Buddhist Monks
Oil on canvas.  88 x 60 cm

 

Night Detained.  1992
Acrylic on canvas.  78 x 78 cm
The Serendib Gallery Collection

GEORGE KEYT

1901 - 1993

   Retrospective Exhibition

   The George Keyt Foundation

There was a time when George Keyt's pictures reflected the opulent splendours of the eternal world, enhanced by and through the play of light and perspective.  Later his chief concern became the quietly and methodical expression of this eternal reality in terms of pure symbols, plastic, elliptic, synthetic and well balanced.  His language from then on become the language of line arabesques and pure colour harmonies.  This deliberate simplification resulted in works which are not in the least abstract or schematic, but in which the full richness of reality is recaptured and implicit.  The intensity and beauty that can be seen is matched here by the intensity of a mind that judges, selects, rules and governs itself.  Within this limited field a rare plastic sense is continually manifested, effortless and always wonderful.  All the pleasures which one expects as a matter of course to derive from pictures are offered to us here in this artist's vigorous region of the intellect munificently.  The artist himself has described this art most aptly as an art of ALANKARA, or MAKING BEAUTIFUL.

His windows opening into luxuriant paradise, the flower vases and the musical instruments and mirrors his women hold in their hands, are things that satisfy the artist's sovereign intelligence.  To him they appear, not as a mere decor, but as the very substance of himself.  This is a superior art where "decoration becomes expression".  We find in these paintings an exquisite, dazzling and irresistibly seductive grace manifest in the invention of these creatures who take their place from now onwards in the gallery of women of Ingres, Matisse, Sigiriya, Ajanta and the bas-reliefs of ancient Hindu temples.  The women of George Keyt too have their secret, and their own inalienable perfection.

Prof. S B Dissanayake