Modern Eden Gallery is pleased to present Hindsight, a dynamic 4-person exhibition curated by gallery co-founder Bradley Platz and featuring new works by Josh Keyes, Sandra Yagi, Ahren Hertel, and Ellen Jewett.
There is a somewhat of a post-apocalyptic environmental hindsight, running through each of these four artist’s works. It is this perspective that I looked for when selecting the artists, and which ultimately became just the starting point for a larger dialogue. The exhibition deals with heavy issues in a visually beautiful manner, encompassing themes of natural selection, and unnatural intervention into our fragile ecosystem. Each work, an ecological warning sign for our times. In Sandra Yagi’s surrealist narratives on the environment she presents her human subjects exposed, skeletal and bare to their true nature, amidst the lush menageries of nightmarish futures. Ahren Hertel’s human subjects are more forward, unabashedly destructive to their environment, his muted palette and the muted expressions of his subjects belie their actions and challenge the viewer, his subjects exposed for their harm done to nature. Ellen Jewett’s sculptural works are beautiful, surrealistic interpretations of natural history statuary, each piece a wonderful spectacle of color that reveal their human intervention with their unnaturally fantastic design. Josh Keyes otherworldly new works depict underwater forests, melting glaciers, and the survival of animals in a brave new world, long after the human cycle, in the fading twilight between one ice age and another. Through intense visual narratives and painted allegories, each artist subtly, and gracefully, reminds us of our responsibility to the planet.
Josh Keyes, Born in 1969 in Tacoma Washington, received his BFA in 1992 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in 1998 from Yale University School of Art. He has exhibited his work nationally and internationally and has work in private and public collections. Keyes currently lives and works in Portland Oregon with his wife Lisa Ericson and daughter.
Sandra Yagi was raised in suburban Denver Colorado, the oldest of a typical suburban middle class family. From an early age, she loved science, especially biology, and drawing. Yagi cites the following artists and providing inspiration and influence: Titian, Vesalius, Albinus, Caravaggio, Delacroix, Goya, Jerome Witkin, Bill Viola, Walton Ford, Masami Teraoka and William Kentridge. She has participated in several group shows at the gallery, and most notably a solo exhibition ‘Primal Renderings’ in 2011. She currently lives in San Francisco and her studio is located at the Pacific Felt Factory in the city’s Mission district.
Ahren Hertel was raised in Reno, Nevada, amid the high-desert landscape that would eventually influence his work. He studied painting at Savannah College of Art and Design, and the University of Nevada, Reno. He currently teaches painting at the University of Nevada, Reno. Ahren has participated in several group exhibitions at the gallery, including our annual portrait shows. In 2013 the gallery mounted a duo exhibition ‘Just East of Here’ which featured Ahren alongside fellow Reno-based artist, and close friend, Jaxon Northon.
Ellen Jewett was born in Markham Ontario where she took to shaping three dimensional forms naturally at a young age. To Ellen sculpting has always been about life, biological narratives and cultural statements. In 2007 Ellen completed her post secondary education with a degree in Biological Anthropology and Art Critique from McMaster University. Each of Ellen’s sculptures are handmade and painted with no more tools than fingers and a paint brush. By virtue of this primal process, each creation is completely unique and produced in a fluid and intuitive manner. The process begins with a handmade metal armature over which light weight clay is sculpted. The painting is done with acrylic or oil pigments and the embedded eyes are glass or acrylic. When complete the whole piece is glazed to intensify colour and strength. With inspiration derived from animal physiology and a love of the fantastic, grotesque and absurd, each sculpture is unique and personable. The immensely detailed craftsmanship is rich and thoughtful and never molded or replicated.