I find myself looking up

These paintings were a part of an exhibition titled “I find myself looking up,” by senior Maycee Keeler, and were displayed in the Visual Arts Center Gallery last week. Anderson Haigler/The USD Vista

Anderson Haigler | Arts&Culture Editor | The USD Vista

USD Senior Maycee Keeler showcases her artwork at the Visual Arts Center Gallery

Senior Maycee Keeler debuted her exhibit, titled “I find myself looking up,” this month in the Visual Arts Center Gallery located near Camino Hall. As an Art major, Keeler created the series of paintings with inspiration from her internal struggle with her faith. Keeler spoke about the paintings during her artist talk at the gallery last Thursday.

“These paintings are about my cognitive dissonance with religion, and how I’ve been working through that,” Keeler said. “These paintings are autobiographical, or narrative in a sense that they all go together, and they relate to each other.” 

Religion has been an ongoing theme in Keeler’s work.

“When I was first getting serious with my painting, I was really drawn to the subject of religion and how that has affected my life,” Keeler said. “I like to point out hypocrisy and that I have issues with institutionalized religion and how it’s being taught, and how it’s causing conflict in my life. These paintings were me trying to combine my ideas and beliefs with my actions.”

The dissonance that Keeler finds in her own life is clearly evident in her work. The paintings are dramatic and striking, featuring intricate landscapes, cryptic and mysterious figures, and abstract displays of raw emotion. All six of the paintings, however, have allusions to religion in them. 

Three feature people, one of a woman who appears to be distraught as she lies near a large ravine, and another with a woman in similar form, though this time she lies atop a city, looming large as if a giant. 

The most striking, though, is the painting that depicts what appears to be a group of monks situated beneath a forest of sorts of mushrooms, as they are sized so they are smaller than the mushrooms. Out of all of the six, this painting makes the most obvious reference to religion. 

The juxtaposition of the monks’ smaller stature with the giant-sized women in the other pieces makes for an interesting visual presentation.  The exhibition ran from Monday through Saturday last week.