Keith Lemley is an American artist who builds sculptural, light-based installations that explore the crossroads between nature and technology. Featured here is “The Woods,” comprising a dimly-lit room with illuminated axes lain against chopping logs and cracked cement walls. The scene is eerie yet serene, mixing bright-light modernity with the dark, cobwebbed corners of rustic life. The lights bring a sense of warmth and presence where there is otherwise cold stillness, calling upon our own memories of the forest while also estranging them with urban glamor. In the following statement, Lemley describes his desire to transcend time and environmental boundaries:
“My work is about seeing the unseen—the invisible presence which exists in our minds and surrounds all objects, experiences, and memories. Working in my studio in rural Appalachia, I have developed a keen interest in being part of and observing natural systems, time and the process of life and death, and an aesthetic sensibility synthesizing the organic and the machine.” (Source)
Other works by Lemley similarly explore the beauty of the natural world, manifesting it beyond normative representations; “Arboreal” is a speculation on the geometry inherent in nature, whereas “Past Presence” uses light to enhance the ragged dynamism of driftwood. Lemley’s goal is to shift our perspectives on the environment, and he does so by fulfilling the adventurous spirit and infusing physical images with the resonance of personal experience. Lemley’s installations renew familiar landscapes with meaning and excitement; as he writes, “one [ultimately] walks away more self aware and delighted in everyday visual ephemera and the experience of being a living, breathing being” (Source).