Part of the Circle
R. Keaney Rathbun
R. Keaney Rathbun is a printmaker and sculptor living in Portland, Oregon. His
mixed media sculptures and screenprints are autobiographical narratives.
The sculptures are constructions made mostly of wood. They are crafted from
driftwood and other wooden objects found at thrift stores and yard sales. They
are joined together with metal dowels and epoxy and then painted and with
layers of acrylic paints. The pieces are gestural and figurative. They are
deceptively simple metaphors of human experience. They are joyous and
whimsical, emotional and poignant. They represent a naive spirit embracing the
moments that make up a life.
Screenprinting ( Silkscreen printmaking or Serigraphy) is a printmaking technique
where a stencil is made on the surface of a piece of thin mesh fabric (originally
silk) stretched over a wooden frame. A thick ink is passed through the opening of
the stencil onto every piece of paper in the edition. A second stencil is then
created and the second layer of ink is printed on top of the first one. This process
is repeated until the print is completed. Mr. Rathbun's larger prints often require
fifty or sixty layers to create the exuberant images, which are his hallmark.
Mr. Rathbun's screenprint compositions set the figures of his sculptures into
more elaborate environments. He often produces suites of images that are
thematically related. His most recent print project is based on the Catholic "Book
of Hours". They are intended to portray sacred moments from his secular life.
There are 4 prints each comprised of 5 smaller images. The 20 small prints are
grouped in a small portfolio (in an edition of 3). The remainder of the editions are
Mr. Rathbun has been creating screenprints for 30 years and sculptures for
about 20 years. His work has been included in exhibitions in China, Germany,
New Zealand, Argentina, Canada, and Brazil. He has worked in major private and
public collections and in Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Brazil museums.
He has included the prestigious book "Contemporary Printmakers in the
Northwest" by Lois Allan, and "100 NW Artists" by Ashley Rooney
He says of his recent life and work: "As I get older I find myself seeking
tranquility. I am less likely to squander my energy in turmoil. I am turning inward.
I am following my loves and interests, distractions, and travels. I am comfortable
in my skin. The making of my work- the incorporation of beauty and humor into
my life's subject matter- allows me to express personal feelings that I could not
broach in words."