Jill On PBS Oregon Art Beat
Jill Mayberg grew up in a largely Jewish suburban community in Central Jersey equidistant to NY and Philadelphia. Her mother was passionate about art. Her home had reproductions of Matisse, Picasso, Ben Shahn, Kathe Kollewitz, Renoir, Degas and many wonderful original works that they found wandering around NY galleries and the sidewalks of Greenwich Village.
Trips were often taken to NYC where they visited galleries and museums. She loved everything about these city excursions: crossing bridges, spotting the the Statue of Liberty in NY Harbor on Ellis Island where her grandparents first landed — the architecture with its exquisite decorative flourishes, and gargoyles, the old stone churches, iron pedigree fences, the hot dog/pretzel vendors, the outrageous fashion people wore, the 3 card ante tables, the smells and the peripatetic oozing of history and energy.
Jill’s favorite place on earth was and remains the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The beauty of the building and the breadth of the exhibits were/are astonishing. She disliked returning to her homogeneous suburb and knew that when she was older she would either live in a city or in the country surround by natures beauty.
Another seminal influence was her close proximity to Roosevelt, NJ named after Franklin D. Roosevelt. An experimental town formed during the Great Depression as part of The New Deal and a draw for many prominent artists including Ben Shahn, a social realist painter. The town’s public school, where her mother was a teacher, houses a fresco mural by him.
In the early 1980’s she moved to the West Coast to go to art school in San Francisco, first landing in magical Big Sur, California where she met many creative artist types like the writer Henry Miller s children. In school she studied art focusing on ceramics and drawing but also delved into jewelry design, printmaking, sculpture and painting along with graphic design classes.
To support herself she sold jewelry and art in the Haight Asbury and later began a ceramics company called City of Clay which sold clay sculptures and art to galleries and museum shops across the country.
In the mid nineties Jill transitioned to 2D and specifically painting. Her paintings were hung on the walls of a trade show she was doing in New York and were seen by Mary Lou Zeek who had an eponymous gallery and offered her her first solo show. It was hugely popular and all of her paintings sold. She quit the production wholesale art business to focus on one of a kind painting full time and never looked back.
Jill’s art is in many public and private collections and is also exhibited in galleries and juried exhibitions all over the country. She has been awarded grants and an Artist Trust Fellowship. She serves on the board of a prestigious Portland Art festival, has been a juror for awarding art grants and has curated art exhibitions.
She has had a lifelong interest in peace and social justice, women s equality, animal rights the ideas of The Enlightenment and humanist ideals. She believes that art is a universal language that can bring people together, foment curiosity and forge connections.