Charles Mayton, Tableau Table Tavolo

May 8, 2015
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Telling stories across the “table” animates Charles Mayton’s first solo show in Italy at the American Academy in Rome, which runs through through 10 May.

The exhibition features a series of works that explore the theme of the table - a form central to painting and dining - and its many facets as an object and also a locus of productive dialogue and exchange. Displayed as a frieze of vignettes, Mayton’s works are colorful, open-ended narratives that showcase his taste for play and painterly experimentation. This is Mayton’s first exhibition in Italy. “It began as a conversation and then grew into this show,” said Mayton of the body of work he created specifically for the Academy. “Its great to be here in Rome, in this space, and amongst this community.” Peter Benson Miller, the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director and the curator of the exhibition, explained that the exhibition program, including shows such as this one, stimulates a constant exchange of ideas that defines creative and intellectual life at the Academy. “This is an ambitious body of work by an artist who makes a compelling argument why painting still matters,” he said.

The sixteen works on display were created expressly for the Academy’s gallery space. They include the repetition of various motifs, word play, and sly visual puns; often the paintings with their many layers of medium and meaning extend beyond the surface of the canvas and migrate to other supports, including table tops, pizza palettes, produce crates and ceramic bowls. There is even an homage to Italy’s celebrated film director Federico Fellini, Still For Fellini, who loved “to sit and talk with friends around a table and watch other people eat.” The exhibition was highlighted by Artforum as one of its “Critic’s Picks.”

Born in Dallas, Texas in 1974, Mayton is a conceptual painter in the tradition of Rene Magritte and Jasper Johns. His paintings are witty and visually sumptuous works that communicate in their own idiosyncratic language. Recent exhibitions include the group show Painter, Painter at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013), a solo outing at The Power Station, Dallas (2013), and vide-poche at the Sculpture Center in Long Island City, New York (2011). Mayton currently lives and works in New York City.

A handsome illustrated catalogue, published by NERO, accompanies the exhibition. It includes an original essay by distinguished artist Amy Sillman, Mary Miss Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome in the fall of 2014. Charles Mayton: Tableau, Table, Tavolo is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. until 10 May 2015.