Stephen Maine

Born in 1958 - United States


biography under completion

Stephen Maine is an American abstract painter, writer, curator and teacher. He is a member of the American Abstract Artists and a contributing editor at Artcritical.com. His paintings engage and extend contemporary ideas about color, composition, surface and process. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.


Maine attended the Rhode Island School of Design, Hartford Art School, the University of Connecticut School of Fine Arts and the Yale Summer School of Music and Art before receiving his BFA in Painting from Indiana University, Bloomington, in 1982. He received his MFA in Visual Art from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2014. From 2006 to 2016 he taught in the MFA Fine Arts program at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He currently teaches at the Parsons School of Design and at the State University of New York at Purchase.


In a process closely akin to relief printmaking, Maine uses textured surfaces to apply fluid acrylic paint indirectly to prepared canvas. He makes these surfaces or “plates,” some of which are quite large, out of common materials such as plywood, extruded foam, plastic and glue. Maine rolls or brushes wet paint over the plate and presses it into the canvas, using custom built contraptions to ensure alignment (registration) of successive applications. Integral to the process is the idea that the entire surface is treated with paint at the same moment. For Maine that means compositional phenomena are allowed to occur with minimal interference from his ego. This approach to composition is productively at odds with his color decisions, which are closely calibrated. Sometimes a single paint application, in concert with the field of color that is the ground, is sufficient to yield a visually engaging result. In most cases, however, to complete an image multiple layers and more complex interactions of hues are called for. The entire process balances precision and unpredictability.


Color itself, and the material properties of paint as embodied color, provide Maine with his primary inspiration. His open-ended and intentionally imprecise production methods yield results that cannot accurately be foreseen, and he delights in the element of surprise they bring to his studio activity. He is inspired by the aleatoric elements of his process, which allows his materials and surfaces to collaborate in the creative act rather than be scrutinized and dominated by the artist. Says Maine; “This work has provided me with a concrete way to think about compositionality, seriality, improvisation, presentation, and the psychology of visual perception.”


Work by Maine is included in the permanent collections of several important institutions, including that of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the New York Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art Library Special Collection, the Whitney Museum of Art Frances Mulhall Achilles Library, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Galleries, as well as the United States Department of State Art in Embassies Collection.

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2015 Stephen Maine: New Paintings, Hionas Gallery, New York (Sept. 9–Oct. 4)
Stephen Maine: Residue, National Arts Club, New York (Nov. 30–Jan 2, 2016)

2014 Stephen Maine: Halftone Paintings, 490 Atlantic Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (April 5–May 10)
Stephen Maine: Paintings, Melville House, Brooklyn, NY (Sept. 28–Dec. 31)

2002 Stephen Maine: New Paintings, 354 Exhibitions, Brooklyn, NY


2016 Inaugural exhibition, County Gallery, Palm Beach, FL (Nov.)
on on and on, c2c, San Francisco , CA (Oct. 10–Nov. 14)
Chromatic Space, curated by James Lippincott, Fiterman Art Center, BMCC, New York
Visible Histories, curated by Max Weintraub, Morris-Warren Gallery, NY (Jan. 30–March 7)
The Onward of Art, curated by Karen Wilkin, 1285 Avenue of the Americas Gallery (UBS Gallery), New York (Jan. 18–March 25). (catalogue)

2015 Endless, Entire, curated by Rachel Nackman, Five Myles, Brooklyn, NY (Nov. 21–Dec. 20)
Diphthong, Fiterman Art Center, Borough of Manhattan Community College, NY (Sept. 29-Nov. 14)
Stack/File, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn NY (June 13–July 26)

2014 Doppler Shift, curated by Mary Birmingham, Visual Art Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ (catalogue)
Sensory Impact, Morgan Stanley & Co., Purchase, NY
For Leo: American Abstract Artists Tribute Exhibition, Sideshow, Brooklyn, NY

2013 Physical Property, curated by Kim Uchiyama, Brian Morris Gallery, New York
Doppler, curated by Mel Prest, Parallel Art Space, Brooklyn, NY (catalogue)
Dynamic Invention: American Abstract Artists at 75, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Brattleboro, VT
CONstruct/conSTRUCT: The Organizing Principle, Schiltkamp Gallery, Clark University,
Worcester, MA

2012 Minus Space en Oaxaca, Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca, Mexico
Beauty Debate: The Detroiter’s First Annual Invitational, Art Effect Gallery, Detroit
American Abstract Artists International; Paris Concret
Textility, curated by Mary Birmingham and Joanne Mattera, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ (catalogue)
Uncovered: Prints from the Kentler Flatfiles, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY

2011 Flag Day, curated by Joan Goleas, Islip Art Museum, Islip, NY
Abstraction [to the power of infinity], curated by Janet Kurnatowski, Ice Box Project Space, Crane Arts, Philadelphia
American Abstract Artists International, Deutscher Künstlerbund Projektraum, Berlin
75th Anniversary American Abstract Artist Exhibition, OK Harris Works of Art, New York
Paper A-Z, Sue Scott Gallery, New York
Splendor of Dynamic Structure: Celebrating 75 Years of the American Abstract Artists, curated by Nancy E. Green, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (catalogue)
Social Photography, Carriage Trade, New York

2010 American Abstract Artists International ‘L’astrazione vista da un cosmopolita,’ Otranto, Italy

2008 Painting’s Edge 2008, Idyllwild Art Center, Idyllwild, CA (traveled to Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA)
American Abstract Artists: Tribute to Esphyr Slobodkina, The Painting Center, New York, NY

2007 Material Matter, Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Lineage 7, M3 Gallery, Piermont, NY
Radius, Metaphor Contemporary Art, Brooklyn, NY
Continuum: Small Works by AAA Members, Saint Peter’s College, Jersey City, NJ

2006 Design/Build, Metaphor Contemporary Art, Brooklyn, NY

2004 Gyrations: Selections from the Flatfiles, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY

2003 The Big Abstract Show, The Painting Center, New York

2002 Print 2002: Contemporary American Printmaking, 354 Exhibitions, Brooklyn, NY
25th Anniversary Benefit Exhibition, The Drawing Center, New York

2001 Group Show, 354 Exhibitions, Brooklyn, NY
Works on Paper, 354 Exhibitions, Brooklyn, NY
Buying Time: Nourishing Excellence, Sotheby’s, New York (NYFA)

2000 The Brooklyn Project, Semi-Public Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

1997 #2: New Work and Invited Guests, Toil Studio, Brooklyn, NY

1993 Abstraction and Reality, Montgomery Space, Jersey City, NJ

1991 Five Painters, Momenta Art, Philadelphia

1990 New Jersey Painting Today, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ
Four By Five, Jersey City Museum, Jersey City, NJ

1988 The Drawing Show, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston

1987 Two-person show, R C Erpf Gallery, New York

1986 Selections 33, The Drawing Center, New York

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