Element of hope, fear and the anxiety of our uncertain times, especially when it comes to the environment, are part of the unsettling visions of Portland-based artist Josh Keyes. His worlds are populated by wild animals of all sorts roaming landscapes of discarded man-made objects like cars, mailboxes and statues. But where are the people? Is this a vision of the end of the world as we know it, the apocalyptic shape of things to come?
Whether it’s deforestation, urban sprawl, our reliance on fossil fuels or simply the ways we interact about nature, Josh Keyes’ work beautifully points to the need for new holistic approaches to these problems. His art also speaks of the interconnectivity of everything on earth, and forces one to contemplate the effect mankind has had on the earth’s fragile eco-systems. In short, his work reflects a world out of balance, and reveals a closer look at the ongoing battle between nature and man’s urban encroachment.
His visually striking paintings and drawings are filled with scientific slices of animals and landscapes that seem to reveal an idealized autopsy of nature’s mysteries, and he uses these micro-landscapes and dissected ecosystems to great advantage in his work.
According to Mr. Keyes, “I am interested in the line, invisible or physical that divides the developed world from the natural landscape. I use fragments and dissection as a way to signify the objectification of nature. I feel that my work is meaningful, and yet it does not have a specific literal meaning. If there is any direct message in my work it is to draw attention to the complex interaction and overlay of urban development and the natural environment. I am also interested in describing the view or idea of nature as an expendable object.”
In spite of its post-apocalyptic undertones, it is clear Keyes has great faith that the natural order of the world will be restored. Whether mankind is part of that equation remains to be seen. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s the amazing eco-art of Josh Keyes.