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Born in Ohio, and raised in Mid-Missouri, Brian Mahieu grew up in a rural setting exploring the countryside from horseback. During these times, immersed in nature, the Missouri landscape and weatherscape with all their moods were imprinted on Brian's consciousness -- later to resurface in his paintings.
Mahieu studied oil painting with Sidney Larson at Columbia College. Larson, who was both a student and friend of Thomas Hart Benton, was a muralist, historian, art conservator, educator and painter. He encouraged Brian to paint outside and to develop his painterly technique.
Mahieu is a Columbia College graduate cum laude, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1989. From graduation until 2000 Brian maintained a fine art gallery in downtown Columbia Missouri.
In 1987 Mahieu traveled to Paris, France and lived in the Latin Quarter for one month. During that time he was able to see the great impressionist masterpieces, and to visit 'the shrine' -- Monet's home and garden in Giverny, France. Upon his return from France, Mahieu devoted himself to painting exclusively 'en plein air' -- that is outside, directly from nature.
Mahieu has exhibited nationally including in New York and Carmel. Brian's paintings are in public and private collections throughout the United States, Europe the United Kingdom and Australia, including the contemporary artist collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri. The largest public collection of Mahieu's work is at the World Aquarium in St Louis.
In addition to painting full time, he has been hybridizing daylilies since 1992. Garden images have figured heavily into his oeuvre. From 1987 to 2005 Mahieu's artistic career was devoted to painting the Missouri River Valley at all times of the year, and when enveloped in all sorts of light and atmospheric conditions. Beginning in late 2005 Mahieu began to explore the world of Abstract Expressionism which had always held a fascination for him. A trip to the Caribbean and snorkeling in the prismatic waters there exploded his color palette. Current paintings combine his knowledge of the natural world with brilliant spectral hues, treating color and brushwork as the primary focus and imagery (if present) as incidental.
“The paintings of Brian Mahieu are beautiful, quality objects created by a gifted artist with integrity and talent. His iridescent evocations of the myriad motifs in landscape and garden offer wonderful responses to specific conditions of light and atmosphere. He produces colors we cannot easily see as they merge with reality. His juicy and expressive paintings become abstractions of visual poetry. Brian Mahieu is probably the purist oil painter Columbia College has produced.”