Jonathan LeVine Projects is pleased to present Streams in the Wasteland, a solo exhibition by artist Josh Tiessen, first place winner of the inaugural Delusional Art Competition in 2017.
This new series was inspired by the prophetic literature of the Hebrew Bible, which Josh Tiessen became interested in because of its employment of semiotic imagination as a conduit for illuminating deep spiritual truths. Tiessen believes that “the symbolic natural imagery offers streams of hope within the post-apocalyptic wasteland, highlighting the God-given mandate of stewardship to care for animals and the environment, which is also a relevant theme for today.”
Comprising over four years of painting, this series explores the theme of wild animals in abandoned spaces. These zoological motifs are found in the book of Isaiah, based on predictions for the eventual demise of Babylon and surrounding Ancient Near Eastern nations due to their greed, idolatry, and ecocidal practices. The description of creatures (owls, hyenas, jackals) having dominion over these deserted cities was a springboard to create alternative realities depicting animals from various geographical regions juxtaposed into abandoned human civilizations, bringing honor to their Creator by following their natural design and figuratively calling for the restoration of the earth.
The choice to paint on shaped non-quadrilateral panels was an intuitive decision to break from tradition, as Tiessen found rectangles and squares non-conducive to his subject matter. He allows the subject to dictate the shape of his braced Baltic birch panels, such as the gothic arch of “Harbinger” and the Greek temple of “The Republic.” Painting in detail around 2” sides gives a three-dimensional effect. All of these works are planned up to three years in advance: sketching the composition, traveling to photograph references, preparing models and digital composite, selecting a complementary panel shape and, in some cases, designing a custom frame to complete the piece. Each painting takes 400 to 1200 hours to complete.