I always hated cleaning brushes.
When I moved to Denver in the early 1980s, I had a series of studios with no running water. Cleaning my brushes was a pain. I started to explore working with different mark-makers and palette knives, small at first and then slowly scaling up. As the paintings got bigger, the marks had to grow as well to keep the right size ratio to the painting surface. Eventually, I came to work with large concrete tools and long metal scrapers.
Working with complex complements, the large blades allowed me to lay in finely striated color in one stroke. I liked the way the blades make workmanlike marks that can be less self-conscious than those made with a brush, leaving the viewer unsure of how exactly the paint got there. Making paintings flat, on low trestles, predominately in a square format, is how I worked for over twenty years.
Now I am back to using brushes, painting on birch panels instead of linen, and standing the paintings up instead of flat, as before. Most noticeably, I am drawing with the brush and now bringing in abstract forms and bright, saturated color in brilliant pinks, purples, orange and green.
I was born in Brockton, MA, and grew up alternately in Boston and Woods Hole, on Cape Cod. I graduated from St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, and went on to attend Cal Arts and the San Francisco Art Institute. I have been living and working in Colorado since 1981.
Let’s just make some good, honest, awkward, paintings.
A working artist for over fifty years, Jeffrey has a deep knowledge of what it takes to create art and the benefits of practicing his craft over time. As a practical businessperson, he is also a maker and producer who knows that creativity is not the purview of artists alone. As a curator, he brings people and ideas together through art.
An educator and consultant, Jeffrey has particular expertise in practical color usage, color theory and the history of color in culture. For over twenty-five years, he has developed curricula and taught Creativity and Foundations at the University of Denver School of Art & Art History, where he was named the 2001 Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year. He has created and curated original exhibitions Learning to See Color, The Wall/La Pared: Immigration and Identity, and most recently, Storm Warning/Artists on Climate Change and the Environment.
Jeffrey studied at Cal Arts, The San Francisco Art Institute and The Zhejiang Academy of Fine Art, Hangzhou, China. Although Keith liked Cal Arts, he found a lack of support for figurative painting (his focus at the time), so he relocated to the San Francisco Art Institute from 1973-74 to be amid the Bay Area Figurative School. Though certainly influenced by the paint-pushers of the New York Abstract Expressionist school, Keith was more strongly drawn to the figurative of California paints like Richard Diebenkorn and the Bay Area “Bad Painters” such as David Park, Joan Brown, and Bruce McGaw, whom he studied under at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Keith’s work is represented in many public, private and museum collections around the country and abroad. He spent much of his early years on Cape Cod and in California before moving to Denver, Colorado, in 1981.
2017 Storm Warning / Artists on Climate Change and the Environment, original exhibition created and curated for the University of Denver Vicki Myhren Gallery. Created and produced symposium in conjunction with the exhibition, On Balance: Art, Science and Politics in the 21st Century.
2016 Learning to See Color, original exhibition created, co-curated and produced for the Vicki Myhren Gallery of the University of Denver School of Art & Art History. Symposium for the exhibition co-sponsored by the Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, CO, and evening performance Learning to Hear Color with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The Wall / La Pared: Immigration and Identity, original exhibition created, curated and produced for the Vicki Myhren Gallery of the University of Denver School of Art & Art History in collaboration with the Museo de las Americas, Denver, CO. Symposium for the exhibition, Beyond the Wall: Testimonio, and Slam Poetry event, Over the Wall, in collaboration with Café Cultura Poetry Collective, Denver, CO
2015 Robin Hood, 2015, oil on linen, 42 x 96”, site-specific commission, AIMCO/Tryba Architects, Park Towne Place, Philadelphia, PA
Beluga, 2015, digital fabric print with internal LED lighting, 5’ x 15’, 1/1 site specific commission, AIMCO/Tryba Architects, Park Towne Place, Philadelphia, PA.
Cotuit, 2015, oil on linen, 78 x 72”, Site specific commission, Charles Schwab & Co. Headquarters, Lone Tree, CO.
2014 Sedona West End, 2015, digital fabric print with internal LED lighting, 14.5’ x 7.7’, site-specific commission, West End Residencies, Bernstein Management Corporation, Washington, D.C.
2013 Atalanta, 2013, oil on birch panel, 30 x 150”, site-specific commission, Wilmer Hale LLP, NYC, NY.
2012 Ho Huo, 2012, oil on linen, 48 x 120”, site-specific commission, private collector
2002 Duality/Autonomy, original exhibition curated and co-produced for the University of Denver, School of Art and Art History
2017- Curatorial Consultant/Advisory Board, Center for Local Prosperity, Halifax, N.S., CANADA
2016-2017 Curatorial Consultant, Vicki Myhren Gallery, University of Denver School of Art & Art History
2016- Adjunct Curator, Vicki Myhren Gallery, university of Denver School of Art & Art History
2014 - 2015 Color Consultant, Comfort Dental, Lakewood, CO
1991 - Adjunct Professor, Color Theory, Drawing, figure Drawing, Painting, Foundations / Creativity, University of Denver School of Art & Art History,
1991-1992 University of Wyoming School of Art, Guest Professor, Graduate Painting / Advisor, Foundations
1994-1996 P.S. 1 Charter School, Denver, CO, created and taught the Interdisciplinary Arts Program
1991-1994 Artist in Residence, Colorado Council on the Arts / Denver Public Schools
1993-1998 ArtReach, Denver, CO, art classes for special needs populations
1993-1998 Mary Jones Productions, Denver, CO, Art Director for Documentary Film and Video
1988-1992 Arapahoe House, Denver, CO, Arts Therapist, Adolescent Care, Drug and Alcohol Recovery
1988-1989 Mercy Medical Hospital, Denver, CO, Arts Therapist, Children of Parents in Recovery
1990 - Art Students League, Denver, CO, Color Theory, Painting
1972- Miscellaneous odd jobs including but not limited to; dishwasher, book salesman, figure model, sauté chef, magazine illustrator, cartoonist, Meals on Wheels, sailing instructor, survey crew runt
Ongoing Private Studio Classes in color theory, drawing, figure drawing and painting
SELECT SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2013 Jeffrey Keith, New Works, Baker Showroom, S.F. Design Center, San Francisco, CA
Charlie Mop Head, Linda Fairchild Contemporary Art, Larkspur, CA
2012 In Context/Selected Painting and Sculpture from the Jeffrey Keith Archive, Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, Denver, CO
2011 Jeffrey Keith @Aqua Art Basel, Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, Miami, FL
Jeffrey Keith /Color Before Words, Carmen Wiedenhoeft Gallery, Denver, CO
Jeffrey Keith/Color Studies, K. Saari Gallery, Steamboat Springs, CO
2008 Jeffrey Keith/New Paintings, Angela Brayham Contemporary Art, Toronto, Canada
2006 Coloris, Nelson Macker Fine Art, Port Chester, NY
2005 Coloris, William Havu Gallery, Denver, CO
2004 Color in the Abstract, Hargate Art Center, St. Paul’s School, Concord, NH
2003 Chromaticity, Linda Fairchild Contemporary Art, San Francisco, CA
2002 Jeffrey Keith, New Works, Linda Fairchild Contemporary Art, San Francisco, CA
2001 The XII Seasons, Rule Gallery, Denver, CO
1999 Jeffrey Keith, F.C. MOCA, Ft. Collins, CO
1998 Jeffrey Keith: Recent Large Works, Nicolaysen Museum, Casper, WY
1997 Tools/Toys, B. MOCA, Boulder, CO
1996 Voyage of the Dummy, ZIP 37, Denver, CO
1993 A Death in the Family, Sangre de Cristo Art Center, Pueblo, CO
1991 A Crib is a Bargain, University of Denver, Denver, CO
1990 Paintings, Sheila Nussbaum Gallery Millburn, NJ
1989 Ancestors/Fax, NEXUS, Atlanta, GA
1988 Tools-Toys/Action, Galeria de la Mota, Barcelona, Spain
SELECT GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2016 Looking Back: 40 Year Anniversary Exhibition, Arvada Center for the Performing Arts, Arvada, CO
2014 School of Art and Art History Faculty Triennial, Myhren Gallery, University of Denver, Denver, CO
21st Annul Print and Drawing Fair, Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Minneapolis, MN
2013 ART Santa Fe, Oehme Graphics, Santa Fe, NM
AMoA Biennial 600: Printmaking, Amarillo Museum of Art, Amarillo, TX
2012 Recent Acquisitions, Art Bank Gallery of the U.S. State Dept., Washington, D.C.
Art Market, San Francisco, CA
Capitol Print Fair, Washington, DC
EAB Fair, NY, NY
2011 Faculty Triennial, Victoria Myhren Gallery, University of Denver School of Art, Denver, CO
Abstraction, Gallery 1261, Denver, CO
ArtNOW Fair, Miami Beach, FL
EAB Fair, NY, NY
2009-10 Juicy Paint, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA
Abstract Notions, Angela Brayham Contemporary Art, Toronto, CANADA
2008 Singapore Sun Festival / VIVA Foundation for Children with Cancer Benefit Event
Summer Break, Brayham Contemporary Art, Toronto, ON
Silent Movies and Bedroom Paintings, Belmar Lab, Lakewood, CO
2007 Red Dot, Art Basel, Miami, FL
Primal Elements, Linda Fairchild Contemporary Art, San Francisco, CA
2006 Caramoor Fall Art & Antiques Show, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts,
Westchester County, NY
2004 Wet Paint, William Havu Gallery, Denver, CO
Occupied; Adjunct Faculty, V. Myhren Gallery, University of Denver School of Art, Denver, CO
Colorado 2004, Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO
2002 Colorado 2002, Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO
2001 20 Years of Excellence, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE
1999 Colorado Abstraction, 1975-1999, Arvada Center Arvada, CO
1998 Colorado/Wyoming Biennial, OneWest, Ft. Collins, CO
1994 3 Painters, University of Denver, Denver, CO
Drawn West, Utah State University, Logan, UT
1993 Toyamura International. Sculpture Biennale, Toyamura, Japan
1992 Front Range Revisited, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO
1991 Beyond Photography, Laguna Gloria Museum, Austin, TX
1990 Colorado 1990, Denver Art Museum, Denver, CO
1989 Instal-la-2, Galeria de la Mota, Barcelona, Spain
Colorado: State of the Art, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO
SELECTED AWARDS & PRESENTATIONS
2012 Guest Lecturer, Clyfford Still, A Painter's Perspective, Clyfford Still Museum, Denver, CO
2005 Best Abstract Artist of 2004-05, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, CO
2004 Taylor Visiting Artist at Hargate, St. Paul’s School, Concord, NH
2000-2001 Adjunct Faculty Member of the Year, University of Denver, Denver, CO
1998 Colorado Wyoming Biennial “Select”, Ft. Collins, CO
1993 Toyamura International Sculpture Biennale, Toyamura, Japan
1991, 1990 The Banff Centre Residency – Photography, Banff, Canada
1990 WESTAF / National Endowment for the Arts, Painting Fellowship
1987 Colorado Federation for the Arts Fellowship
1986 The Bemis Project Residency – Painting, Omaha, NE
Trinity Financial, Boston, MA; Nutter, McClennen & Fish, LLC, Boston, MA; Charles Schwab & Co., Lonetree, CO; Park Towne Place/AIMCO, Philadelphia, PA; Bernstein Management Corporation, Washington, D.C.;Tryba Architects, Denver, CO; Wilmer Hale LLP, NYC, NY; U.S. State Department, Washington, DC; Denver Art Museum, Modern and Contemporary Permanent Collection, Denver, CO; San Jose Museum of Art, Permanent Collection, San Jose, CA; Tokyo Museum of Art, Toyamura, Hokkaido, Japan; The Banff Centre, Banff, Canada; Captiva Corporation, Denver, CO; CBRE, Denver, CO; 1st National Bank of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM; The Four Seasons Hotel, Denver, CO; Colorado’s Ocean Journey Aquarium, Denver, CO; Hyatt Regency at the Denver Convention Center, Denver, CO; Kaiser Foundation, Denver, CO; New Frontiers Media, Boulder, CO; Nora Eccles Harrison; Museum of Art, Logan, UT; Northern Trust Bank of Colorado, Denver, CO; Patina Oil and Gas Corporation, Denver, CO; Washington State Arts Commission, Olympia, WA; Carma Development, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Brigham and Women’s Hospital Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, Boston, MA; Transwestern, Boston, MA; U.S. Chemicals L.L.C., New Caanan, CT; Elements, Denver, CO; Anschutz Medical Health and Wellness Center, Denver, CO; VISA Corporation, Foster City, CA