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Painting by Richard Mayhew titled Nostalgia from 2016

Richard Mayhew, Nostalgia, 2016. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Crocker Art Museum.

Untitled painting by Richard Mayhew from the 1990s

Richard Mayhew, Untitled, 1990s. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Stan and Marguerite Lathan.

Untitled painting by Richard Mayhew from the 1990s

Richard Mayhew, Untitled, 1990s. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Stan and Marguerite Lathan.

Press Release

Richard Mayhew: Inner Terrain
September 16, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art
Co-curated by Kajahl and by Shelby Graham


A rare and timely exhibition of the artwork of Richard Mayhew (b. 1924), featuring two dozen paintings that speak to American arts, culture, and history. Mayhew’s African American, Shinnecock, and Cherokee-Lumbee ancestries inform his dreamlike landscapes, which are saturated in vibrant colors, including shades of red and burnt earth pigments that suggest, as the artist has said, “blood in the soil.”

In 1963, Mayhew had already embarked on a continuous search for an imaginative mindset when he joined Spiral, a think-tank of Black artists in New York City that became instrumental for its opportunities to exchange ideas and develop networks, though its gatherings only lasted from 1963 to 1966. Mayhew’s early engagement in Spiral came to symbolize for him a starting point for a creative continuum that flows outward perpetually, embracing all directions while also moving forward.

Mayhew studied in Italy and taught at the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Students League, Smith College, San Jose State University, and Pennsylvania State University, where he retired as professor emeritus in 1991. As he approaches his centennial birthday, he remains an active painter developing an inventive mind and continuing to improvise his techniques.

About the Artist

Richard Mayhew is a highly acclaimed artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States. Born in Amityville, New York, in 1924, Mayhew was raised in Harlem and went on to study at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Brooklyn Museum Art School. Mayhew's paintings are known for their rich, vibrant colors and their ability to capture the beauty and essence of the natural world. He is particularly known for his depictions of the American landscape, which often incorporate elements of the abstract and the surreal. Mayhew's work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He has also been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to his career as a painter, Mayhew has also been a dedicated teacher and mentor to generations of young artists. He has taught at a number of institutions, including the University of California, Santa Cruz and the Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Read More at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

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