Keith Mayerson (b. 1966, Cincinnati, OH) is inspired by symbols of American history and pop culture, and depicts familiar figures who have impacted the country's consciousness, in addition to personal scenes and his abstract "iconscapes." His work allegorises themes of resilience, determination, and the "American dream." Iconic images, heroes, places, and events are rendered luminous and transcendent through Mayerson's micro-managed brushwork and coloring. His subjects are often selected for their backstories and cultural impact; in Mayerson's paintings, they embody contemporary national feelings and sentiments. While his formal features hint at a French Impressionist influence, his images could be seen to recall the work of Symbolists in their spiritual components, cultural commentary, and review, in addition to being inspired by the more visionary aspects of American Modernists and the Old Masters.Read More
Mayerson's paintings are informed by his immersion into his subjects. Like a method actor, he listens to albums, biographies, or other audio materials on the figures in question while painting them. The entrenched conceptual investment and consideration behind his practice imparts an earnest, emotive resonance. His exhibitions are often installations of images that create larger narratives. Each work is imbued with allegorical content that relates to the world, yet allows through its formal nuances for the transcendent and sublime. The works stand on their own for form and content, but like a prose poem of images on walls, experienced in context the images as a series, the viewer creates the ultimate meaning for the installations. Since the George W. Bush era, his long running non-linear narrative "My American Dream" has been presented in separate exhibitions as "chapters" and the ongoing series continues through today.
Keith Mayerson studied Semiotics and Studio Art at Brown University and received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine and is now Professor of Art and Chair of Painting Drawing, and Printmaking at the Roski School of Art and Design at the University of Southern California. Mayerson's work was prominently featured in the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art with a solo show My American Dream, the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and the Whitney Museum's inaugural downtown show, America is Hard to See. His recent solo exhibitions include the Elaine de Kooning House Foundation, East Hampton (2019); Marlborough Gallery, New York (2019); and the Bridge, Bridgehampton (2019).
His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, California; the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio; the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio; and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami.
Text courtesy Karma.