Published: January 30, 2001
The Richly Colored Landscapes of Richard Mayhew Shown in California
BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. – “Richard Mayhew: ,” featuring new paintings and watercolors by the artist, opens February 16 at Steve Turner Gallery, 275 South Beverly Drive. It will remain on view through March 31.
Mayhew is one of the best-known African American artists working today. He has had regular one-man exhibitions in New York and elsewhere since the late 1950s. He has received numerous honors and his works are in many museum collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the National Museum of American Art.
Impossible to simplify and difficult to classify, Mayhew is an independent artist whose new work sums up his wide-ranging experiences. His biography is so full of entries that is seems as if an editor inadvertently combined the facts of several artists’ lives: A formal art education at four schools; four seemingly disparate influential instructors – Edwin Dickinson, Max Beckman, Hans Hoffman and Reuben Tam; addresses in a number of cities in the United States and Europe (New York City; State College, Pennsylvania; Santa Cruz, Calif.; Amsterdam; and Florence); teaching positions at several universities; the initiator of several innovative art programs in a number of places; and the recipient of numerous honors, including membership in the prestigious National Academy of Design. He currently shows his work with five different art galleries around the country.
As for his artwork, most observers have trouble fitting Mayhew into one school or another. They variously describe his work as abstract, illusionist or expressionist. According to the artist, “I paint the essence of nature, always seeking the unique spiritual mood of the landscape.”
In trying to explain the source of his art, Mayhew acknowledges his grandmother, who instilled in him a love of nature and the sense that there were no limits to his potential: his pride in his Long Island Shinnecock Indian and African American heritage: pride in the fact that his ancestors were involved in the Underground Railroad; his involvement in the Spiral Group, organized by a group of socially conscious Black artists trying to make advances during the Civil Rights movement; his love of music, jazz in particular; and his time spent criss-crossing the country observing the ever-changing landscape, from his native Long Island to his adopted California.
In spite of the artist’s national reputation, the fact that he has had a close connection with California has been largely overlooked. He has had several teaching positions in the state, beginning in the 1970s, with his most recent at the University of California, Santa Cruz. While Mayhew’s works do not depict a specific landscape, traces of California are certainly to be found there.
This is the Steve Turner Gallery’s second annual Black History Month exhibition. Last year, the work of William H. Johnson was presented. The gallery will host an opening reception for Richard Mayhew on Friday, February 16, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 am to 5 pm; Saturday, 1 to 5 pm and other times by appointment by calling 310/271-3721.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm