I first stumbled upon Josh Keyes work about a year ago, I found it really interesting and intriguing not necessarily because I ever attempt such realism, but because of his use of strong visual metaphors and symbols. His work deals with natures relationship within itself while juxtaposing the effects humans have had on nature, all without actually showing a person. He employs very a scientific sensibility to his work which he combines with his own personal mythology, as well as folklore. He also addresses the current global warming crisis by depicting scenes that may show the aftermath of such an event. You could say his work follows an almost post-apocalyptic with a dystopian feeling about it.

Josh was born in 1969 in Tacoma, Washington, he currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon. Keyes graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and later received his MFA in painting from Yale University. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States. Over the past several years, Keyes has developed “an iconic and complex personal vocabulary of imagery, creating a unique juxtaposition between the natural world and man-made landscapes.” The objects and animals incorporated into Keyes’ dissected environments each hold individual iconographic significance. Either underwater or overgrown with vegetation, the imagery functions as a way for Keyes to express his personal experience while commenting on and sharing his interpretation of world events.

-Matthew Decker


One response »

  1. Charlotte Mao says:

    I love that his work looks like installations but are really paintings. These are extremely interesting and poignant images. They remind me of displays in a museum (which is what I think he was going for) Thanks for drawing attention to this artist, I’m definitely going to look into him

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