Keith Monaghan – Regional Modernist

Keith Monaghan, in his Studio, WSU Fine Arts Building, Professor of Fine Arts, 1986

Few contemporary artists in the Northwest derived as much visual inspiration from the Palouse region of eastern Washington as did Keith Monaghan. His long association with the region is reflected in the images he created, which place him among the finest landscape abstractionists who have painted this most unique region of the Palouse.

“Ochre, blue, umber, green overlap, contrast, texture, isolation, light and space are words which simultaneously produce visual comparisons between the landscape of the Northwest region and Keith Monaghan’s paintings.

His abstractions, with their obvious dependence on nature, reveal the expanding role and influence of the American regional landscape artist. Regional modernists like Monaghan, who are educated in and familiar with international art theories and practices, choose to portray specific qualities of their region because of the relevance of what they see. Artists working outside of major art centers, such as New York and Los Angeles, will not likely influence the urban dominance of American art, nor redirect the thinking of developing artists from these centers, but Monaghan represents the pervasive artistic strength throughout this country, and reveals the changing attitudes about significant art, which previously was thought to only be produced from an urban orientation.”

Excerpts from Exhibition notes from Harvey West,
Director, Newport Harbor Art Museum
Newport Beach, California, 1977