According to his rather strange yet humorous bio, Pittsburgh, PA artist Andy Kehoe was only three years old when his sea merchant father was killed by pirates on an ill-fated mission shipping pickles and kittens to Spain. After being thrown overboard he lived alone at sea for three days before washing ashore on the Galapogas Islands where he was raised by iguanas. He then goes on the recount his experiences living in Romania and witnessing first-hand the battles between Russia and Romania in World War I, even though he was born in 1979.
If his bio sounds like a richly imaginative fable, his work is a reflection of a secret world he has created in his mind. Inspired by folklore, mythos, and a deep love of nature, Kehoe creates subtle, quiet visual narratives through which he explores such themes as love, mortality, alienation, and betrayal. Birth, life, death and rebirth are reoccurring themes in his work.
In his richly detailed paintings on wood panels, Kehoe conjures dark forest worlds, afire in autumnal earth tones, where glowing, ghostlike figures emerge from the darkness or from burning trees. His worlds are populated by part-human, part-animal hybrid creatures with mournful eyes expressing truthful human emotion devoid of irony or sarcasm. Like the creatures of Maurice Sendak’s “Where The Wild Things Are,” Kehoe’s subjects may look cartoonish, but they seem to bear an incredible weight on their shoulders, perhaps the weight of the world.
Part whimsical, part somber, yet always sadly poignant, welcome to the world of Andy Kehoe. See more of his work by visiting his website or check out the gallery after the jump.