Meet Richard Keen, a contemporary artist based in Maine who has been creating stunning art for over two decades. From 1997-2003, Keen taught privately and in public schools before devoting his time to his art. He now maintains a studio at Ft. Andross Mill in Brunswick while subsidizing his life as an artist by working as a diver.
Originally from Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, Keen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Millikin University in Decatur, IL, and a Master of Arts from S.U.N.Y. Albany. His work can be found in public and private collections worldwide, and he has been the recipient of numerous grants from New England institutions such as the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Sheffield, MA, and Rhode Island Sea Grant, Narragansett, RI. Keen’s recent solo exhibitions include shows at the Zillman Art Museum in Bangor, ME, and Elizabeth Moss Galleries in Falmouth, ME. Additionally, Keen exhibits with Abigail Ogilvy Gallery in Boston, MA, and the Painting Center in NY, NY. He has also created public art and received grants from the Maine Arts Commission, University of Rhode Island, and the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. His work has been included in the United States "Art in Embassies Program” and has been reviewed in Art New England, Portland Press Herald, Maine Home and Design, Dispatch Magazine, Fresh Paint Magazine, and Studio Visit Magazine.
As a commercial diver, Keen's art is heavily influenced by the shapes and shadows he encounters in his underwater world. The arc of a hull, the slide of a rudder, and the way sunlight filters through the dark Maine waters are all elements that re-emerge in his abstract art. Keen's creative process begins with observation, where he filters which elements to focus on by removing unnecessary details. His paintings reference boat components such as rudders, keels, and boat designs, but in a minimal and reductive approach to making art. Keen's painting methods vary widely, from scraping, wiping, and brushing to spreading the paint with palette knives, scrapers, and even old credit cards. He balances crisp lines and shapes (created by taping off areas) with visible aspects of brushwork and other mark-making processes.
Join us on the last day of the exhibition for a unique art experience at the gallery. Artist Richard Keen will lead a 90-minute workshop where participants can explore their creativity and learn how to compose and create abstract drawings based on an object they are connected with. Basic drawing supplies such as cardboard, paper, and spray fix will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring flat/non-precious objects to draw on, around, trace, etc. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the exhibition and learn from the artist.