SVA’s Keith Mayerson Discusses ‘Iconscapes 1995-1999’

July 22, 2011

BFA Illustration and Cartooning Department faculty member Keith Mayerson is having a very busy summer. In addition to an exhibition of recent work in his home state of Ohio and the reissue of his graphic novel Horror Hospital, a collaboration with the revered novelist Dennis Cooper, the Knoedler Project Space in New York is exhibiting some of Mayerson’s earlier work from the late 1990s. On view until July 29, “Iconscapes 1995-1999” is a series of raw, abstract landscapes that are manifestations of the unconscious.

“I think of myself as a very avant-garde cartoonist,” said Mayerson. “All my exhibitions are a series of images juxtaposed in deliberate sequence to tell larger narratives.” As the son of a psychoanalyst, Mayerson believes that iconic images can evoke complex ideas and feelings within the viewer.

The paintings in “Iconscapes 1995-1999” were created following a 1995 move from Los Angeles to New York. “With this body of work, I was trying to find my own style,” said Mayerson. “Although my current works are much more highly rendered and figurative, I hope the spirit and energy of these paintings remains vital to what I create today.”

For Mayerson, the energy of teaching feeds what he creates in the studio. “While I exhibit in galleries and museums, my teaching comics at SVA is involved in all aspects of my art making practice,” said Mayerson. “I do think of my shows as a ‘comic on the wall’ and I think very specifically about the placement of images, like panels on a page, in shows that are about taking the viewer on a journey, like they are inside of a comic.”

“Iconscapes 1995-1995” is on view through July 29 at the Knoedler Project Space at Knoedler & Company, 19 East 70th Street, Manhattan; (212) 794-0550,

Images: (first) installation view of “Iconscapes 1995-1999”; (second) Untitled (IS0025), 1997, oil on linen, 36 x 36 inches; (third) Untitled, 1997, oil on canvas, 50 x 60 inches; (fourth) What Julian Sees, 1999, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches; (fifth) Green Circle, 1996, oil on canvas, 19.875 x 23.875 inches. Courtesy of Keith Mayerson and Knoedler & Company.

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