I know Attila Keszei as an artist working in several media, on a few recurring subjects.
Sustainability has been a key preoccupation for him, both in his professional life at the University of Toronto, and in his art. Images exploring his understanding of science & technology, particularly when it comes to energy, seem like a natural consequence of such interests.
Images of nature figure prominently as well, sometimes in traditional landscapes, sometimes in more unorthodox imagery, such as Keszei’s raku representations of geological phenomena, and studies in physics. He visualizes the unimaginable –the heat of an atomic blast– reframing the violent cataclysm as something organic, an egg or an eye, re-imagining it for us as if to suggest birth rather than death.
Political commentary also figures in the work of this Hungarian expat, and no wonder, given that he came into the world when Josef Stalin was still ruthlessly controlling the USSR and the Eastern Bloc satellite states.
There is a fourth major category in Keszei’s work, and that’s religious art. It might be more accurate to say “Biblical” rather than “religious”, given the absence of sermonizing or lectures telling us how to read his images.
Keszei will be part of a group show that opens this Sunday at 1:00 pm at 137 Melville St, Dundas Ontario. There’s no stifling his usual tendencies, as these recent Biblical works still show us the other preoccupations: sustainability, nature, politics, all figure in these images from the Bible. He understands John the Baptist as a figure of protest as well as prophecy. The three kings following a star are astronomers. Keszei gives us the stations of the cross, in dramatic and compassionate imagery.
Keszei’s recent work also includes several natural images and one delightful piece –titled “The First Cell” that again seems to bestride the frontal lobe that’s home to both art and research. Happily none of his work can be easily stereotyped or categorized: like the artist himself.