Born 1966 in Cincinnati, OH
Lives and Works in New York, NY
Reflecting the painter’s lifelong interests in fine art and the language of comics, Keith Mayerson’s My American Dream presents a nonlinear narrative that he asks the viewer to complete. The “American dream” that it proposes is idiosyncratic, personal, and disruptive of traditional understandings, as it focuses simultaneously on subjects drawn from cultural history and the civil rights struggle and from Mayerson’s own life. The salon-style installation includes images of Annie Oakley, Sitting Bull, Abraham Lincoln, and others, and links these stories to those of the nation and of Mayerson, respectively, coming of age. Paintings of Superman and popular musicians such as Marvin Gaye and the Beatles are juxtaposed with depictions of the artist as a child with his family and with paintings based on photographs of Mayerson with his husband, Andrew Madrid.
The paintings were made over a period of about twenty years. The earliest are exactingly executed; in recent years Mayerson has also made more improvisational abstractions, as well as representational paintings that include passages of freely expressive brushwork. Throughout, optimism mingles with desire, portraying Mayerson’s belief that “personal agency could help to define and strengthen this country.”