Pittsburgh-based mixed media artist Andy Kehoe creates imaginary forests where vibrant mysticism grows wild. His tableaux feature strange creatures that appear part human, part animal, rendered tiny amid towering trees and shimmering celestial skies or sometimes taller than the woods themselves, as if one and the same with the earthly landscape.
To build each enchanting scene, Kehoe paints on top of layered resin, building shadow and dimension between the surreal subjects and their surrounding environments. He also integrates polymer clay for added depth and texture. The paintings are intended to kindle awe and wonder for the splendor of the natural world, with phantasmagorical imagery stimulating the imagination to create an experience at once emotional and aesthetic for viewers.
The artist’s work, including a new exhibition called Fantastical Romanticism on display at New York’s Jonathan LeVine Gallery until July 23rd, is inspired by the Romantic art movement of the 19th century, which emphasized individuality, emotion, and drama. He explains in an official statement, “I inhabit my worlds with strange creatures and like many of the subjects in Romantic paintings, they are often dwarfed by the nature surrounding them. Sometimes the creatures are bringing you into the scene with a straight gaze and other times they are facing away so that you can share that contemplative moment with them. There is always a harmony and symbiosis between the characters and the natural surroundings, with the giant creatures themselves sometimes acting as natural wonders. I love the idea of a living, breathing wonder roaming the landscape.”
All images via Andy Kehoe.