Side Effects
June 21 to July 27, 2008

[!11544] Josh Keyes
Exhale I
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 40 in.
Contact the gallery for pricing and availability.

Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present Side Effects, an exhibition of new paintings by the Oakland-based artist Josh Keyes. This is Keyes' first solo show with the gallery.

Keyes' fantastically altered landscapes reveal the intricacy of Earth as a natural system, and the complexity of our responses to it. Literally platforming nature, the artist's satirical chunks of earth, sea, and space painted on white fields painstakingly depict the plant, animal, and human realms, all interacting and reacting. Deer, war memorials, grass, hyenas, street signs, whales, fast-food containers, and myriad other subjects are forced into intimate encounters atop these tiny stages, intensifying their real and symbolic interactions. Keyes' platform strategy emphasizes the notion of Earth as a fragile "garden planet" floating in space. It also critiques the human fallacy that nature can be contained, a mythology of First World progress divorcing civilization from nature.

Side Effects investigates the artist's ongoing interest in animal myths and folk tales, including Ovid's Metamorphoses and American Indian legends. Some of these stories convey cautionary lessons about the importance of respecting nature. Elsewhere, Keyes' "interlock" series uses an ingenious visual analog to show how the built environment is directly linked with the natural world, also displaying the artist's fascination with scientific and textbook drawings.

Another central topic is Keyes' speculative imaginings about a dystopian future, where the United States operates on the world stage as a political and environmental tyrant (whether these works are perceived as speculative or futuristic depends on the viewer's point of view). Here, Keyes' sculpture and objects serve primarily as "sketches" for thinking about form, space, and light in the execution of his paintings. The installation A Thousand Points of Light, a reference to the administration of George H. W. Bush, creates a new American flag revealing the United States as both predator and prey in the political and economic "oceans" of the world.

A native of Tacoma, Washington, Josh Keyes received a BA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Yale School of Art. Solo exhibitions of his work have taken place at Hang Gallery, San Francisco; George Billis Gallery, Los Angeles; Nexus Gallery, Berkeley; Hey! Gallery, Oakland; and the Commencement Art Gallery and Penny Lucas Gallery, Tacoma. Selected group exhibitions include Contested Ground: The Landscape Redrawn, Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane (2008); John Casey and Josh Keyes, TAG Art Gallery, Nashville (2008); Gold Rush, Okay Mountain, Austin (2008); Picks Of The Harvest, Thinkspace Art Gallery, Los Angeles (2007); Elevation, Limited Addiction Gallery, Denver (2007); Oakland - East Side Story, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Monster Drawing Rally, Southern Exposure, San Francisco (2006); Natural and Unnatural, Hunterdon Museum of Art, Clinton, NJ (2006); Drawn, Art Murmur, Los Angeles (2006); The Human Zoo, Lobot Gallery, Oakland (2005); New Tales to Tell, San Luis Obispo Art Center, CA (2004); among others. Josh is the son of artists Barbara Minas and David Keyes.


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Jeremy Fish and Josh Keyes opening reception (June 22, 2008)