Margaret Keller’s large-scale installations are concerned with the impact of humans and technology on the survival of all interdependent species on earth, as we stumble into the future. Issues she addresses include speculative possibilities for planetary and species survival, climate change, natural disasters, gender, surveillance, and our experience of nature in this digital age.
Using diverse media such as installation, sculpture, painting, drawing, laser-cutting,
3-D printing, video, and mixed-media, all her series share an investigation into the relationships between nature, contemporary culture, and technology, recognizing these relationships as now negatively symbiotic. Keller’s series come from her sense that at this precise moment, we are at the tipping point of a world gone wrong. Her installation Botanica absentia was at The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis for Fall 2019 and travels in 2020 to The Mitchell Museum in Illinois as part of her one-person exhibition Leaning on Nature. Thousands of earth’s plant and animal species are under eminent threat of extinction now; Botanica absentia is a memorial to lost species – set 70 years in the future.
Keller also focuses on the curatorial and critical aspects of contemporary art, with reviews published in Art in America, delicious line, All the Art, and temporaryartreview among others, and numerous exhibitions curated at The Meramec Contemporary Art Gallery.
Keller’s art has been shown in over fifty galleries, museums and collections including The Arkansas Art Center Museum in Little Rock, the RAC gallery in St. Louis, The Mitchell Museum in Mt. Vernon, Illinois, The Center for Contemporary Art and Gallery 210 in St. Louis and Quadratfuß/NX2-Annex Art in Berlin. In 2018, she was commissioned to create Riverbend, a 133-foot-long aluminum public art installation representing the Missouri River at The Gateway Arch National Park. The Space Between was at The William and Florence Schmidt Art Center in 2019, where her laser-cut sculpture was selected for the permanent collection. Currently she is the Artist-in-Residence at Forsyth School.
Keller has worked full-time as Professor of Art at Meramec College in St. Louis; she was also Visiting Associate Professor at Washington University in St. Louis and in Florence, Italy; Historic Preservation Consultant; Fiscal Analyst for the Missouri State Legislature; self-employed cake decorator; and box factory worker.
Studies include Post-Graduate work in Experimental Electronic Media (video game design, animation) at Webster University, Master of Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, and Bachelor of Arts from University of Missouri-Columbia.
The book mentioned in the interview was
Link to the book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.
Botanica absentia, 2019, aluminum, chrome, stainless steel, dichroic plexiglass, holographic vinyl, wood, at The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis Photo: Josh Rowan