Visual Models-Mixed Media

Artist Statement

A visual model is a scientific tool to describe elements in our existence that, amongst other things, are too small or too big for us to see. Scientists use these models to show the vastness of our galaxy and to portray the microscopic virus. With the occurrence of the current global pandemic, it is important to remember two things. First, queer people have been dealing with death in the form of disease for the last fifty years, so this is not a new concept for us: having less sexual partners is replaced with social distancing, condoms are replaced with face masks, AZT is replaced with hydroxychloroquine. The only difference is the victims in our current crises are not being demonized for contracting the virus.

Secondly, it is possible to contextualize the larger problems of society through visual cues, thus making it important for artists to bridge the gap between what humanity experiences and the feelings those experiences provoke. Artists are in the business of making models: windows into the soul of society that put into context the human condition. It is an aim to coalesce our shared reality through the lens of a single individual, the artist, and their experience, perspective, and opinions.

These mixed media drawings, done with acryla-gouache, pencil, colored pencil, and ink, work to not only identify a collective human anxiety when dealing with issues larger than ourselves, but to reclaim the virus for the queer community. Gay men, lesbians, and the trans community have historically been forced to deal with discrimination, violence, and disease for years, so it is important for me to share, as a gay man, my coping mechanisms in dealing with the broader world. Problems that, represented by the model, are sometimes too big for us to see, but when broken down into their base nature, become more manageable for us to handle.

Keith Buswell graduated with a BFA in art from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. He works with various printmaking processes such as screen-printing, intaglio and mono printing, and dabbles in drawing and multimedia. He currently is a member of Karen Kunc’s Constellation Studios where he creates his prints. His work has been shown in the United States, Egypt, Dubai, France, and Italy. Notably, Keith received the Perry Family Award in 2018, and he was second place in the 40 Under 40: National Artist Showcase in Annapolis, MD, and third place at the Under Pressure: National Printmaking Exhibit in Fort Collins, CO. He is a contributing artist to issue 23 and 28 of The Hand Magazine. He also attended residencies at The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center in Nebraska City, NE, and at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Hyattsville, MD. Originally from Council Bluffs, IA, he currently lives in Lincoln with his husband Brad and his dog Max.