KMA Daemons Digital Brochure website

In this collection international abstract artist Alex Echo embodies the themes and power of shape-shifting, demonstrating his continuously evolving techniques.

There is an animal inside us all. From our primal instincts – hunger, sex, jealousy, protection – to our will to survive, we have an innate bond with the beasts around us. This interchangeability is explored by figurative ar tist Keith Maiden in his powerful new collection, Daemons . It’s a subject that has captivated audiences for centuries. During his research, Keith discovered Leonardo da Vinci’s 1489 masterpiece, ‘Lady with an Ermine’. One of only four female por traits by the legendary Renaissance ar tist, the painting depicts Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of his patron, Lodovico Sforza of Milan. It is believed that the small, furry creature represents Lodovico, who sometimes went by the name of Ermellino Bianco (‘white ermine’). In recent years, writers like the Irish poet W. B. Yeats and the American sci-fi writer C. L. Moore have also interpreted this concept. But perhaps the most famous literary example is Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, in which dæmons are a physical manifestation of a person’s self in animal form. Created with graphite, oil, acrylic and pastel, Keith’s new original ar tworks explore themes of family values, trust, love and friendship. Subtle ear th tones have been added to his usual monochromatic palette, illustrating a natural progression in style for the painter, whose previous collections – including Equilibrium and If I Were The Devil – have marked him out as a provocative contemporary ar tist. Taking inspiration from Leonardo da Vinci, Keith chose to position his beasts with strong female characters. “I really liked the connection between humans and wild animals,” he explains. “I used large cats as it’s not an image you see every day...a beautiful tattooed woman with the most dangerous of animals. They are a touch surreal, in a dark and beautiful way.”

(noun) Latin: from the Ancient Greek ‘daimon’, a guiding spirit Daemon

Be nice to each other no matter who you are or where you are from. Have the desire to be good to others, no matter what.

BENEVOLENCE Acrylic On Board 110cm x 90cm

This painting is my interpretation of an original and darker story of Little Red Riding Hood , in which I highlight the dangers of social media and online dating. A woman’s hair is one of the many powerful tools she has for attracting the opposite gender. When she cuts it or covers it up, this can send a message that she is not available. This is why the girl has shor t hair and symbolism on her arm saying ‘unavailable’. She has a tattoo over her eye saying ‘damaged’, with a symbolic letter ‘R’ on her right upper arm, and a ring saying ‘f*** Grandma’. She is gently holding the wolf as she would a pet, but all is not as it seems.

‘Little girls, this seems to say, Never stop upon your way. Never trust a stranger-friend; No one knows how it will end. As you’re pretty, so be wise; Wolves may lurk in every guise. Handsome they may be, and kind, Gay, or charming never mind! Now, as then, ‘tis simple truth— Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth!’ Charles Perrault, Little Red Riding Hood, 1697.

AS HE FACED THE MOON, HE CAST NO SHADOW Acrylic On Board 144cm x 122cm

DIFFERENT IS BEAUTIFUL Acrylic On Board 110cm x 90cm

This is about not hiding if you are that little bit different. Embrace it – don’t be afraid of being different, be afraid of being the same. Different is beautiful.

This painting is about family values, inner strength and beauty. I’ve used the Latin phrase familia ante omnia , meaning ‘family before all’. True strength comes from within, and so does beauty. I feel like a lot of people seem more interested in themselves than their families, unlike a lion who would happily die for his pride.

FAMILIA ANTE OMNIA Acrylic On Board 122.5cm x 122cm

This painting is about trust in a relationship. The young woman is holding a roaring tiger, yet her expression is that of a woman in control. She isn’t phased by the tiger at all, and is instead calm and confident: she has the animal’s trust. Trust has been likened to a phone with no service, as without it you play games. Hence the title, ‘No Signal’.

NO SIGNAL Acrylic On Board 100cm x 100cm

This painting is about the journey we all take through life to find out who our true friends are, friends who never judge and are always there for us.


Acrylic On Board 122cm x 122.5cm

I used my own life experiences for this one, I was ‘stuck in a rut’ at a cer tain point in my life, but I eventually pulled myself out of it. When I was down on my luck, I realised who my true friends were. This painting is about two souls dwelling in the same body.

STUCK IN A RUT Acrylic On Board 70cm x 110cm

FUR FOX SAKE Acrylic On Board 122cm x 100.5cm

This painting shows the bond between man and beast, or girl and fox in this case. At the bottom of the painting, it states: ‘From the chaos of her soul flowed beauty’ – a quote from Louise Alexandra Erskine – which could refer to either of them.

This woman’s daemon is a leopard. Leopards are shy, secretive and cunning animals. A leopard can also mean that you are who you are, and just like a leopard cannot change your spots. The woman has the following quote on her arm: ‘If you’ve never felt your soul being torn apar t you have never loved anyone with all your hear t’.

SOUL THIEF Acrylic On Board 110cm x 73cm

Symbolising knowledge and spirituality, blackbirds are mysterious creatures who are both beautiful and magical. Anyone with a blackbird as their daemon will know that they are carriers of intelligence and quick wit.

LOVE WARRIOR Acrylic On Board 80cm x 60cm

Describing his work as storytelling, self-taught ar tist Keith uses ar t to ask questions about our society. Exploring themes of narcissism, greed and civil unrest, his monochromatic paintings inter twine raw emotion with a hunger to understand the world around us. Born in Wolverhampton in 1962 and now living near Cardigan Bay, Keith turned down the oppor tunity to study ar t in order to suppor t his family. Now that he has achieved his dream of becoming a professional ar tist, his first step is to form ideas using hand-drawn preliminary sketches, before progressing into more detail. With a rough idea in his head or on paper, he develops it as a storyboard, similar to a car toonist. Once the story works with the sketch, he star ts to paint. The piece is created in white acrylic paint with a brush and palette knives. After this has dried, he adds up to eight layers of graphite and acrylic before finally adding oil and soft pastel. Keith adds: “A lot of my work is storytelling. It sometimes takes longer to create the story of a painting than to paint the piece itself. It’s a difficult process that takes time, research and endless scribbles and sketches to bring everything together.”

The images contained within this literature are an artistic representation of the collection. To best experience our art, we recommend you contact your local gallery to arrange a viewing. © Washington Green 2018. The content of this brochure is subject to copyright and no part can be reproduced without prior permission.

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