Josh Keyes was born in 1969 in Tacoma Washington. Keyes graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and later received his MFA in painting from Yale University. Josh’s work brings to mind the detail and complexity of natural history dioramas, and the color and diagrammatic complexity one might find in cross section illustrations from a vintage science textbook.
His work has developed over the past years into an iconic and complex personal vocabulary of imagery that creates a mysterious and sometimes unsettling juxtaposition between the natural world and the man made landscape. The work conveys an anxious vision of what the world might be like in the future as a result of current global warming predictions. Keyes’ interest in creating paintings that fuse realism with the possible often evokes the imagery found in dystopian and post-apocalyptic literature, while other works express the optimism and utopian ideas found in the writings of Buckminster Fuller and Paolo Soleri. Keyes often incorporates objects and animals into his dissected environments that have personal iconographic significance.
He weaves his personal mythology through fractured and isolated landscapes that are either overgrown with vegetation or underwater, and often depict historic or military monuments covered with graffiti. The imagery functions as a way for Keyes to express his personal experience and also allows him to comment and interpret events in the world. His work has been featured in numerous publications and exhibited in galleries in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Denver. Keyes currently lives and works in Portland Oregon.