Sourcing images from books and the internet, and often inspired by portraits experienced in person, Keyes selects images that collectively create an overall representation of each artist’s portraiture work. The resulting photographs reshape the work of such iconic names as Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Martin Schoeller and Frida Kahlo. At times, his work conjures up more than the purely visual, such as with Nick Cave (2014), which pierces the viewer with a cacophony of suggested sound and movement, gloriously melded together.
Beyond the subject of the portrait itself, Keyes is most interested in the cognitive impression left after seeing the work. Keyes’ work proposes that the brain creates collections of layered images over time, not individual snapshots of moments like a camera. When we think of a person it’s not a static, flat impression. We live in time and space, always moving, always inputting new data. And this data is never objective, it’s not a collection of precisely copied information; it’s as imperfect as our memory.