I have been wanting to post this for weeks. Have wandered slowly through this gorgeous book and each time I visit it I feel so sated. Mayhew’s work appeals to me deeply, and on two levels. First, it describes a visceral, intrinsic connection to landscape. Second, and equally important, is his relationship with color. Oh my!
Was turned on to Richard Mayhew when I read a review of his work by John Yau, on Hyperallergic. I knew I needed to have my hands and eyes on the work, so ordered the book. Mayhew is quite remarkable and, at 96, is still living and painting in Santa Cruz, CA. Born in NY, of Native American and African American descent, he was raised with an abiding love for the earth. Though actively involved in the art scene in New York city in the 60’s as a member of the group SPIRAL, he did not gain the renown that many of his peers did due, in large part, to his affinity for landscape over other modern and cultural themes. As an educator he taught at the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Students League of New York, Smith College, and Penn State. Upon retiring, he moved west, having been deeply affected by the colors/shapes/drama of western landscapes.
Most of his landscapes are created through him. They are not paintings of actual places, which, given their breadth, I find remarkable. They are exquisite. They are like food to me, like breath.