Pop Art — or maybe the interest in pop culture by artists encountered in New York in the late 1950s — inspired Thiebaud's early work along with the liberating engagement with the medium of paint that he saw in the work of de Kooning and Kline. He remained committed to the discipline of representational art throughout his long and prolific career, teaching it at UC Davis from 1960 to 1991 and continuing there as a Professor Emeritus right up until his death at the age of 100.
Originally inspired by the Abstract Expressionist art flourishing in New York City in the early 1950s, a group of artists based in and around San Francisco (including Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, and Wayne Thiebaud) began to see renewed potential in bringing that kind of excitement in the act of painting to figurative subjects. It resulted in a West Coast art movement sustained well into the 1960s by younger artists inspired by the particular energy of that vision.
Although Diebenkorn's famous Berkeley paintings in the early 1950s were created in an Abstract Expressionist vein he moved away from that path to paint traditional subjects - still life, the human form, landscape - with a modernist sensibility. By the early 1960s he was discovering his own way back into abstraction, culminating in his extraordinary Ocean Park series, which he explored over several decades.
Based in California since 2000, Mayhew has long worked in the genre of landscape painting. Drawing on his combined Native American and Black American heritage, his landscapes are not representational in the traditional sense. They are not views of a particular place at a particular moment in time. They are landscapes that could be anywhere, intimating a sense of the histories of peoples that may have taken place there even if now unmarked, unrecognized, or erased.