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Josh Keyes - Thaw


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Acrylic on wood panel // 12”x18”// **SOLD**

Josh Keyes created this painting for Antler Gallery's 2017 booth at SCOPE Miami Beach.


When the reality of human atrocities toward nature and each other reach a certain level of intensity, sometimes fantastic stories and imagery are useful and necessary to describe the barbarism that is felt throughout the world. There are many reoccurring themes in my work, one of these is a sunken, flooded forest, dreamlike and inhabited by phantom sea life. Abandoned places speak to me of our own culture and even our bodies, eventually surrendering to the elements of time and reuniting with nature. Recently I have been exploring the theme of space, it is an edge, an abyss, and also expresses the sublime reality of how unique and fragile our planet is and also how insignificant and significant we are on the cosmic scale. I have portrayed satellites and astronauts, covered in graffiti floating and drifting aimlessly through space, the last frontier for the human touch. The horse has been a reoccurring image I’ve used over the years. Sometimes horse are running away from a shadow of crows, or being transformed by a swarm of blue butterflies. The horse has become a personal symbol that represents the driving life force in each of us. It is a symbol of vitality. I was experimenting with different ideas foe Forever and Ever and felt that a horse, drifting in space, uncertain if it is alive, dead, or asleep, gripped my imagination and emotions. It is a strange image but I felt that it expressed for me the stunning and bewildering effects of the political shock and awe tactics by the current administration. There is a feeling of helplessness, and also a sense of surrender and desire to escape everything. The horse with such strength, muscle, and purposiveness, and yet remains in a state of inaction drifting silently for eternity. For me, the symbolic elements in these paintings allows for a personal and poetic expression, a catharsis in making sense of current events and the concern for the future for all living things.
​                                                 - Josh Keyes, 2017.