Exhibition at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History To Feature Abstract Expressionist Paintings by Richard Mayhew From the Private Collections of Metro Detroiters

Apr 10, 2001, 01:00 ET from Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

    DETROIT, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit Collects Mayhew, an exhibition
 of abstract expressionist paintings by Richard Mayhew, will be in the Bank One
 Gallery of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History from
 April 21 through September 16, 2001.  Mayhew, internationally known for his
 stunningly evocative landscapes that are studies in color, form, space, mood
 and illusion, will be represented by over 30 works owned by private
 individuals, corporations and cultural institutions in the metropolitan area.
     "This exhibition has two primary purposes," says Bamidele Demerson, the
 Museum's director of exhibitions and research.  "First, the exhibition will
 provide an opportunity to assess the aesthetic qualities and explore the
 cultural significance of images created by one of America's leading abstract
 expressionist painters.  Second, by focusing on Mayhew, we will examine a
 little known fact in the history of African Americans in Detroit, i.e., that
 of fine art collecting over the past several decades.
     "More specifically, the exhibition, accompanying catalogue and educational
 programming will focus on areas such as the African American community's
 support of the arts, and the historical significance of socio-
 economic and ideological diversity in the collecting efforts of various
 sectors of the African American community."
     Sherry Washington, owner of the downtown Sherry Washington Gallery
 representing Richard Mayhew in Detroit, is the curatorial consultant for the
 exhibition.  According to Washington, African Americans are in the forefront
 of collecting works by black artists:  "In Mayhew's case, Detroiters who had
 the prescience to see his vision decided that they knew what good art was and
 would not wait until 'the arbiters of good art' or 'Mother New York' told them
 what to think."
     In describing his work, Mayhew refers to himself as "an
 improvisationalist."  He says that he uses "painting terms like expressionism
 only as clarification for others.  They don't understand improvisation ...
 real, gut feeling.  The act of improvising as the act of discovery.  That's
 abstract expressionism.  That's jazz."
     His affinity to the land comes from his African American and Native
 American heritage, Mayhew says.  "It's a dual commitment to nature.  The land
 is very important to both cultures in terms of stimulation and spiritual
 sensitivity, and it's very important to me."
     For Mayhew, that connection to the land transfers intuitively to the
 canvas.  "I start with an abstract pattern and it develops into a
 representation of feeling ... I don't impose reason on a painting.  I don't
 get locked into controlling it.  Once you control it, you start losing the
 sensitivity of it."
     That sensitivity and feeling speak directly to a number of metro
 Detroiters who have been collecting works by Mayhew.  Dolores Weber, who is
 lending three paintings from her collection for this exhibition, says that
 Mayhew's paintings make her feel tranquil.  "In the morning, I am a reader and
 I am surrounded by these magnificent landscapes that set the tone for the day
 ... which is peaceful.  No matter what color he imparts ... it is totally real
 and acceptable when he portrays a tree other than green.  The mystical feeling
 that he has with nature is magical.  The mood that he relates really connects
 with the mood of the inner person.  He's a gift to the planet."
     Mayor Dennis Archer and his wife, Judge Trudy DunCombe Archer, are lending
 two works to the exhibition.  Alluding to "Blues Tempo," a pastel and ink on
 paper, Judge Archer says of her first impression on seeing it, "I knew that I
 really liked it (because) it was so soothing."
     Mayhew's mastery of light and color contribute to paintings that are
 mystical with close tonal harmonies and diffused landscapes that often flow
 into abstraction.  His muted colors, delicate pastels, lush greens and deep
 purplish-blues create moods that are real and imagined, earthly and ethereal.
 At times, the subtle changes of hues and intensity give a shimmering quality
 to his paintings.
     Born in 1934 in Amityville, a small hamlet on Long Island, New York,
 Mayhew was intrigued at an early age by the artists from New York City who
 would visit in the summer to paint scenes of the seashore.  One of the
 artists, James Wilson Peale, asked the young Mayhew to try his hand at
 painting.  Impressed with what he saw, Peale later mentored him, teaching him
 medical illustration and other basics of painting.
     In the late 1950s, Mayhew studied art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School,
 the Art Students League and Hans Hofmann's School of Fine Art in New York.  An
 abstract expressionist, Hofmann instructed him in color and the freedom of
 intuitive expression.  Other teachers included Reuben Tam, who reinforced
 Mayhew's spiritual kinship with nature; Edwin Dickerson, an American
 impressionist; and Max Beckmann, an expressionist who helped Mayhew channel
 his emotions through his work.
     After graduating from Columbia University, where he studied art history
 and art education, Mayhew received a grant to study in Europe for four years.
 He explored the archives of the Louvre in Paris, the Museo del Prado in
 Madrid, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  Fascinated by the ways in which the
 Old Masters used color, Mayhew became motivated to gain a scientific
 understanding.  Toward that end, he read a number of books on the effects and
 responses of the eye and the nervous system to color.
     In addition to his worldwide exhibitions, Mayhew's work is represented in
 the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; the National
 Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; the Brooklyn Museum; the
 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum; and the
 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, among others.
     Through the years, Mayhew built a second career in teaching, including
 stints at the Brooklyn Art School, Smith College, San Jose State College and
 California State University.  He retired from Pennsylvania State University in
 1991 where he is currently Professor Emeritus of Art and Fellow.
     On May 15, Richard Mayhew will be in Detroit to attend a reception at the
 Museum and will conduct a workshop the following day, Wednesday, May 16.  The
 workshop is open to the public and is free with Museum admission.  For
 scheduled times, call the Museum at 313-494-5800, extension 0.
     The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is located at 315
 East Warren Avenue in Detroit's Cultural Center.  Hours are Tuesday - Sunday,
 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.  Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 17 and under.
 
 

SOURCE Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
    DETROIT, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit Collects Mayhew, an exhibition
 of abstract expressionist paintings by Richard Mayhew, will be in the Bank One
 Gallery of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History from
 April 21 through September 16, 2001.  Mayhew, internationally known for his
 stunningly evocative landscapes that are studies in color, form, space, mood
 and illusion, will be represented by over 30 works owned by private
 individuals, corporations and cultural institutions in the metropolitan area.
     "This exhibition has two primary purposes," says Bamidele Demerson, the
 Museum's director of exhibitions and research.  "First, the exhibition will
 provide an opportunity to assess the aesthetic qualities and explore the
 cultural significance of images created by one of America's leading abstract
 expressionist painters.  Second, by focusing on Mayhew, we will examine a
 little known fact in the history of African Americans in Detroit, i.e., that
 of fine art collecting over the past several decades.
     "More specifically, the exhibition, accompanying catalogue and educational
 programming will focus on areas such as the African American community's
 support of the arts, and the historical significance of socio-
 economic and ideological diversity in the collecting efforts of various
 sectors of the African American community."
     Sherry Washington, owner of the downtown Sherry Washington Gallery
 representing Richard Mayhew in Detroit, is the curatorial consultant for the
 exhibition.  According to Washington, African Americans are in the forefront
 of collecting works by black artists:  "In Mayhew's case, Detroiters who had
 the prescience to see his vision decided that they knew what good art was and
 would not wait until 'the arbiters of good art' or 'Mother New York' told them
 what to think."
     In describing his work, Mayhew refers to himself as "an
 improvisationalist."  He says that he uses "painting terms like expressionism
 only as clarification for others.  They don't understand improvisation ...
 real, gut feeling.  The act of improvising as the act of discovery.  That's
 abstract expressionism.  That's jazz."
     His affinity to the land comes from his African American and Native
 American heritage, Mayhew says.  "It's a dual commitment to nature.  The land
 is very important to both cultures in terms of stimulation and spiritual
 sensitivity, and it's very important to me."
     For Mayhew, that connection to the land transfers intuitively to the
 canvas.  "I start with an abstract pattern and it develops into a
 representation of feeling ... I don't impose reason on a painting.  I don't
 get locked into controlling it.  Once you control it, you start losing the
 sensitivity of it."
     That sensitivity and feeling speak directly to a number of metro
 Detroiters who have been collecting works by Mayhew.  Dolores Weber, who is
 lending three paintings from her collection for this exhibition, says that
 Mayhew's paintings make her feel tranquil.  "In the morning, I am a reader and
 I am surrounded by these magnificent landscapes that set the tone for the day
 ... which is peaceful.  No matter what color he imparts ... it is totally real
 and acceptable when he portrays a tree other than green.  The mystical feeling
 that he has with nature is magical.  The mood that he relates really connects
 with the mood of the inner person.  He's a gift to the planet."
     Mayor Dennis Archer and his wife, Judge Trudy DunCombe Archer, are lending
 two works to the exhibition.  Alluding to "Blues Tempo," a pastel and ink on
 paper, Judge Archer says of her first impression on seeing it, "I knew that I
 really liked it (because) it was so soothing."
     Mayhew's mastery of light and color contribute to paintings that are
 mystical with close tonal harmonies and diffused landscapes that often flow
 into abstraction.  His muted colors, delicate pastels, lush greens and deep
 purplish-blues create moods that are real and imagined, earthly and ethereal.
 At times, the subtle changes of hues and intensity give a shimmering quality
 to his paintings.
     Born in 1934 in Amityville, a small hamlet on Long Island, New York,
 Mayhew was intrigued at an early age by the artists from New York City who
 would visit in the summer to paint scenes of the seashore.  One of the
 artists, James Wilson Peale, asked the young Mayhew to try his hand at
 painting.  Impressed with what he saw, Peale later mentored him, teaching him
 medical illustration and other basics of painting.
     In the late 1950s, Mayhew studied art at the Brooklyn Museum Art School,
 the Art Students League and Hans Hofmann's School of Fine Art in New York.  An
 abstract expressionist, Hofmann instructed him in color and the freedom of
 intuitive expression.  Other teachers included Reuben Tam, who reinforced
 Mayhew's spiritual kinship with nature; Edwin Dickerson, an American
 impressionist; and Max Beckmann, an expressionist who helped Mayhew channel
 his emotions through his work.
     After graduating from Columbia University, where he studied art history
 and art education, Mayhew received a grant to study in Europe for four years.
 He explored the archives of the Louvre in Paris, the Museo del Prado in
 Madrid, and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.  Fascinated by the ways in which the
 Old Masters used color, Mayhew became motivated to gain a scientific
 understanding.  Toward that end, he read a number of books on the effects and
 responses of the eye and the nervous system to color.
     In addition to his worldwide exhibitions, Mayhew's work is represented in
 the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; the National
 Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution; the Brooklyn Museum; the
 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum; and the
 Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, among others.
     Through the years, Mayhew built a second career in teaching, including
 stints at the Brooklyn Art School, Smith College, San Jose State College and
 California State University.  He retired from Pennsylvania State University in
 1991 where he is currently Professor Emeritus of Art and Fellow.
     On May 15, Richard Mayhew will be in Detroit to attend a reception at the
 Museum and will conduct a workshop the following day, Wednesday, May 16.  The
 workshop is open to the public and is free with Museum admission.  For
 scheduled times, call the Museum at 313-494-5800, extension 0.
     The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is located at 315
 East Warren Avenue in Detroit's Cultural Center.  Hours are Tuesday - Sunday,
 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.  Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children 17 and under.
 
 SOURCE  Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History