Mary Anne Keel Jenkins
Mary Anne Keel Jenkins can be classified as North Carolina’s most significant living female painter. Ms. Jenkins’ work can be divided by decades into four distinctive styles of abstract artwork that have defined her remarkable career.
Mary Anne Keel Jenkins is represented in the permanent collections of The North Carolina Museum of Art, The Minnesota Museum of Art, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, The Greenville Museum of Art, The North Carolina Museum of History, North Carolina State University Gallery of Art and Design, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina A&T University, Wake Forest University and the Goldsboro Art Center.
Mary Anne Keel Jenkins’ Statement on her use of Amatl (also Amati or Amate) papers:
“I have been using Amatl paper since my stay in Mexico in 1971. As early as 500 AD the Mayans of Central and South America were making Amatl papers. They used them for illustrated manuscripts and books. Aztecs, who came later, continued to make and use Amatl. Present day manufacturers are Otomi Indians, who, like their ancestors, use these papers for ceremonial purposes.
The women of the tribes take bark strips of Mulberry, Fig or Hemp that are about an inch wide and boil them in a vat with ash. after ten hours of cooking, the strips are washed, beaten with stone tools, and then placed in the sun to dry.
Each sheet is irregular in color, size, thickness and texture. Therefore, each presents a challenge as to the choice of other pictorial elements. The crude dry look of Amatl I [Mary Anne Keel Jenkins] found to be most attractive. After examining the papers, I decided to use compositional elements that would retain the subtlety of the paper itself.”
Read this artist's biography
Mary Anne Keel Jenkins was born in 1929 in Stokes, North Carolina and grew up in Greenville. She is very well educated, having studied at the Ferree School of Art in Raleigh, East Carolina University, North Carolina State University and San Carlos Art School in Mexico City. Mary Anne Keel Jenkins’ work was first exhibited at the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Annual Artist’s Exhibition in 1954. Since that time Jenkins has won 43 awards, exhibited in 50 solo and two-person shows, and over 361 group exhibits through out the United States and Canada. Mary Anne Keel Jenkins has traveled all over the world to work and study, including Costa Rica, Italy and Spain.
Mary Anne Keel Jenkins has been appointed to several esteemed positions by the Raleigh City Council, including Chairwoman of the Art in Public Places Task Force, member of the Board of Directors of the Artist Housing Task Force, and member of the Board of Directors for the Emerging Artist Program for the City of Raleigh.
In addition to painting and public service, Mary Anne Keel Jenkins was a painting instructor from 1962 to the late 1990s, including (but not limited to) positions at NCSU’s School of Design, Pullen Art Center, workshops at the NC Museum of Art, and through her own business, “The Painting Studio.”
In 1982, Mary Anne Keel Jenkins carried over 100 works of art by North Carolina artists to England to show over a 5 month period. With the help of the NC Governor James Hunt and the NC Commerce Department Mary Anne Keel Jenkins arranged 3 exhibitions; at the University of Essex, England, at the US Embassy in The Hague, and at the Amerika Haus in Köln, West Germany.
Some of the awards Mary Anne Keel Jenkins received include the Raleigh Art Achievement Award in 1987, the Raleigh Medal of Art Award in 1994, the Purchase Award from the Minnesota Museum of Art, and the Paul L. Sample Award from the “12th National Jury Show” in Chautauqua, NY.