Drawing Abstraction
with artist Richard Keen

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.

Richard Keen’s show ''Around the Edges' concluded on a high note with an engaging abstract drawing workshop. Richard lead a 90-minute workshop where participants can explore their creativity and learn how to compose and create abstract drawings. Basic drawing supplies such as cardboard, paper, and spray fix are provided. Participants immersed themselves in an afternoon brimming with artistic inspiration and hands-on experience.

We are delighted to have fostered a connection and shared the remarkable work of this Maine-based artist with the Queens community. Moreover, an incredibly meaningful reunion took place during the workshop when one of Richard's former students joined us. Having been taught by Richard at a high school in Maine 20 years ago, she now resides in New York and enthusiastically participated in the workshop.

This program is made possible in part with public funds from the Queens Arts Fund, a re-grant program supported by New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by New York Foundation for the Arts.

This program is also supported in part by Queens Rising, a multi disciplinary arts celebration created to highlight the borough's culture and creative diversity.

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