Rose Keeffe


January 16 - 30, 2021

Rose Keeffe

Self Portrait, 2020

Oil on Canvas

13 x 16  in.

Rose Keeffe, 2020 self portrait

Listen to songs compiled by Rose Keeffe for this exhibition.

These were the inspirations in life and at the studio, especially during isolation due to the ongoing pandemic. Confession - we LOVE her song choices - Black Sabbath, Radiohead, Johnny Cash mixed in with Ulver for good measure. Enjoy!


LaiSun Keane is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Massachusetts artist Rose Keeffe titled Iconoclast from January 16 to 31, 2021.

This exhibition includes work by Rose Keeffe from 2017 to the present in which Keeffe subverts the narratives of mainstream culture by using imageries derived from Renaissance paintings, 50s Hollywood movies, English literature and Greek mythologies. Supernaut is a recent painting in which Keeffe critiques organized religions by drawing parallels between Emily Dickinson’s poem Some Keep the Sabbath Going To Church and heavy metal band Black Sabbath’s song Supernaut. Another recent work Memento Mori, produced during the pandemic, addresses the artist’s feelings of unease while taking public transport with the virus weighing heavily on the public’s consciousness against the backdrop of the government’s handling of the crisis. Literary figure Albert Camus known for his book The Plague, is depicted as a bearer of bad news. While earlier works are mainly social commentaries, her recent work has a more personal bent due to isolation brought on by the pandemic.

Rose Keeffe is a talented young painter who was born and raised in Massachusetts. She earned her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and her work has been shown in the USA and Italy.




Noun | icon· o· clast | \ ī-ˈkä-nə-ˌklast \

1: a person who attacks settled beliefs or institutions

2: a breaker or destroyer of images, especially those set up for veneration.

In this collection of works, Rose Keeffe appropriates classical imagery, convention and narratives with the objective of using the canon of art history to both criticize it, and use it to express her own personal narratives. She rips icons from American pop culture, plays into motifs from art history, and mashes genre to claim them as her own and create her new, unorthodox images.

Keeffe is critical of the history and culture that has been presented to her. As a young woman and a lesbian, she finds that the current canon recorded and venerated by society to be heteronormative and patriarchal. These works are meant to enter a dialogue with an existing classical, historic or social narrative and hijack them to speak more towards her own perceptions and experiences.

With these works, Keeffe hopes to share her perspective on subjects where she herself has previously felt unrepresented. She hopes to deconstruct and reinterpret stories, tropes and mythologies to express her own experiences.

A number of the works featured in this exhibition were created during the ongoing pandemic. These works in particular are meant to document an exasperated frustration with the infrastructure of her own society. The tense and dissonant state of current affairs has driven her works to take a more confrontational and specific edge.

Through her criticism and often blasphemic approach to referencing established imagery, Keeffe takes on the initial role of the iconoclast. She takes icons, be they from mythology, history or culture, and breaks them away from their tired and time-honored contexts. She then hopes to take one more step past iconoclasm and use these usurped icons to make something new and divergent.


Rose Keeffe (born 1996) received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2018. Since then, she has set up her studio in the greater Boston area where she continues to expand and explore her art process.

Keeffe works primarily in oil, but utilizes digital mediums heavily in her ideation process, creating collages in photoshop that she then synthesizes on the canvas. She pulls imagery from mythological and historical sources to contextualize and articulate her own personal narratives and create depth and complexity in her work.

Her recent works center around the skepticism and disillusionment she feels as a recent college graduate in the current social environment. Her works reflect on her experiences being a young lesbian as she endeavors find acceptance in a world with values and expectations to which she finds impossible to relate.



BFA Painting 2018

Rhode Island School of Design, Providence RI

Solo Exhibitions


Iconoclast, LaiSun Keane Gallery, Boston MA

Group Exhibitions


Masc., Costal Contemporary Gallery, Newport, RI


20th Annual Frances N. Roddy Exhibition Concord Art, Concord, MA


Cenci, Memorial Hall Gallery, Providence, RI

Basta? Piazza Cenci, Rome, Italy


Painting Department Exhibition Woods-Gerry, Providence, RI 2013

Pre-college Foundations Exhibition Woods-Gerry, Providence, RI


Frances N. Roddy Memorial Award, 2019

Greater Worcester Community Foundation Scholarship in art, 2014-2018

Becky Westcott Memorial Award in Painting, RISD 2018

Congressional Art Award, District 3 MA, 2014



Teaching Assistant in Art history, RISD EHP, Rome, Italy Teaching Assistant in Precollege art history, RISD, Providence, RI Teaching Assistant in Precollege design, RISD, Providence, RI