MIKE BAYNE: RECENT WORKS
NOVEMBER 10-20, 2016
MULHERIN TORONTO is pleased to present a new body of paintings by Canadian artist Mike Bayne.
“In these paintings I’ve continued to focus, formally, on small-scale oil paintings that combine the techniques of Dutch sixteenth century realism with the throwaway aesthetic of DIY twenty first century snapshot photography.
I choose not to refer to my work as ‘Photorealist’ as the scope of that term is too narrow. It usually refers to a group of artists working primarily in the later half of the twentieth century and not the over five hundred year old tradition of combining photographic tools and oil painting. I prefer the term ‘Constructed Realism’. In John Searle’s “’The Construction of Social Reality’ he makes the point that though there may be something ‘real’ beyond social constructions like language and the limits of human consciousness, we will never know what it is. Similarly, the subjects represented in this exhibition are real only insomuch as they represent a social construction of my own experience.
I work entirely from my own photographs and while in the past this has consisted of images produced by a digital Single Lens Reflex camera, for this exhibition I have chosen to also work from images created using a smartphone. While satisfied with the effects of the SLR, the ubiquity of smart phones and their corny, simplistic photography filters, offer an updated contrast to what was the visual experience centuries ago. And, though it may seem like this is an embrace of current technology, let me assure the viewers of this exhibition that low tech dominates.
Thematically, the constructed reality on view is populated by vernacular architecture, the hand made, the second hand, the cast off, the recently outdated (not yet vintage but no longer current), outmoded styles and things left behind. While not entirely consistent with my focus on the post second world war suburban sprawl of previous exhibitions – there are fewer ranch style bungalows, flagpole signs and eight lane streets – it continues my investigation of the post industrial manufactured landscape and how it shapes twenty first century experience.
Theoretically, I think this exhibition asks questions like: what does it mean when the product of labor intensive craft, like traditional oil painting, has the look of a mass-produced object, like a cell phone photograph? Is it evidence that labor imparts value? It brings to mind Robert Gober’s sculpture ‘Plywood’, a 4’x8’ sheet of plywood painstakingly handcrafted by the artist. While, ‘Plywood’ has the appearance of a regular piece of plywood in all regards, the knowledge that Gober undermines its industrial construction opens the door to a world of metaphorical potential. I think this is what the best art does. Through creation we see the world anew.”
-Mike Bayne, 2016
Mike Bayne attended Queen’s University and received a BAH and BFA in 2001. In 2004, he received an MFA from Concordia University. He has had several solo exhibitions with Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects in Toronto and New York and has participated in a number of group exhibitions in Chicago, New York, Vancouver, and Toronto. His work is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Nerman Museum, The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, the Wieland Collection and numerous prestigious private collections around the world. Mike was the recipient of the Kingston Prize for Portraiture in 2011, and had his work in a solo presentation at The Armory Show, 2012 in New York. His work was also recently featured in group shows at Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston and Galerie de l’UQAM in Montreal.