Jeremy Geddes was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1974 and graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2003. He paints primarily photorealistic paintings, depicting surreal scenes of individuals—cosmonauts, spaceships, doves, people—suspended in a black limbo, or of ruptures of urban settings, often accompanied by doves.
|Ascent, 2013. Oil on Board.|
Geddes is slow to create, often spending several months to complete a single painting and only finishing 2 to 3 paintings a year. His process is laborious, dedicating himself to each painting, first creating many studies of composition and color, and finally painting onto board layers of grisaille, opaque color, and glaze, all to create a photorealistic subtlety, as in Ascent. In Ascent, an astronaut appears to struggle against an overgrowth of flora in his helmet—this painting is thematically similar to many of his other works, depicting lone individuals in darkness and pitch-black isolation, often in misery, grief, or frustration. Ascent also contains a common motif of Geddes—astronauts, or, as he might call them, cosmonauts.
|5, 2012. Oil on Board.|
5, named after the French word for misery (, presents a similar common motif in Geddes’ work—spacecraft. In Ascent and 5 Geddes shows one of his prevailing themes—loneliness, and hopelessness. Both images—cosmonaut and spacecraft—are often seen as symbols of exploration and bravery into the deep unknown. But while these images and the dark expanses they exist in tend to be associated with feelings of wonder and awe, Geddes uses these explorers to evoke a kind of existential terror and hopelessness.
|Begin Again, 2011. Oil on Board.|
Another one of Geddes’ common motifs is doves. Unlike in his cosmonaut- and spacecraft-themed works, Geddes uses doves as symbols of distress and failure (as with the dove of
(Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any drawings by him—Geddes doesn’t create finished drawings and isn’t really the type to release preliminary drawings)
“Jeremy Geddes in Conversation with Ashley Wood.” Juxtapoz, Feb. 2012.
Tudor, Silke. “A Perfect Vacuum: The Paintings of Jeremy Geddes.” Hi-Fructose, June 2017.
Geddes, Jeremy. Ascent, 2013.
Geddes, Jeremy. Begin Again, 2011.