Morgan Lehman Gallery (New York, NY), in collaboration with Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects (Toronto, CANADA) is pleased to present Roadsides, an exhibition of new paintings by Canadian artist Mike Bayne . This is Bayne’s solo debut in New York and represents the body of work that the artist has been working on over the last year.
Mike Bayne’s exquisitely rendered paintings capture North American scenes that are familiar and iconic. At first glance, Bayne’s oil paintings are often mistaken for photographs, yet somehow capture a reality that photographs are unable to. There is an aura of the unbelievable in Bayne’s deliberately banal subjects, a determined skill that precisely captures every nuance of the scene – the isolation, the stillness, the quality of light, the richness of colour, the extreme attention to detail in every reflection, every surface, every blade of grass. While Bayne’s work commonly depicts human absence and isolation, the viewer often gets a sense of “being there”, likely the result of such an accurate depiction.
“I think the question I most frequently get asked as a painter is: ‘why do you choose to paint the things you do’? Probably the most truthful answer is that I don’t know. I don’t know why I photograph the things I do. I don’t know why I chose to photograph my subjects in a certain way, under certain lighting conditions. I don’t know why some photographs appeal to me as painting subject matter more than others. What I do know is that I don’t start out with an idea or theme or concept and then strictly adhere to that throughout. I know that my work isn’t a direct response to a political, social or environmental issue. I know that I don’t have a conscious ideological agenda or feel strongly about the way art should be made or the future of art. That isn’t to say I can’t speculate after the fact and wonder whether I chose to paint something because of a personal association, or because of some cultural influence, or because of the way the neurons in my brain have been hardwired or because certain colours may appeal to me more than others at certain times depending on my mood. Those types of things may help to explain the existence of these paintings to some degree. But it’s still speculation and hardly definitive. The truth is that I just don’t find the question very interesting. It doesn’t matter to me why I paint the things I do. And I don’t think that is an anti intellectual or anti conceptual statement. I simply suspect that why I do what I do has a lot less to do with a rational, logical thought process than experiential factors like chance, luck, coincidence, intuition, instinct, belief, habit, emotion, feeling, taste or fashion, amongst others. Maybe that makes my position moderately irrational but I don’t mind that label. It’s not that I reject logic and reason entirely. I think they have their place. But it should be ok to say ‘I don’t know’ when asked ‘why’? That’s probably not a very interesting answer but maybe the answer is determined by the question.” – Mike Bayne, July 2008
Mike Bayne was born in Ottawa and now lives and works in Kingston, Ontario. He received his BFA from Queen’s University in Kingston and his MFA from Concordia University in Montreal. His work has been exhibited in Toronto, New York, Chicago and Vancouver in solo and group exhibitions, and can be found in numerous corporate and private collections around the world.