Katharine Mulherin Contemporary is pleased to present, POST STRUCTURE SIGN, an exhibition of new paintings by Kingston-based artist Mike Bayne.
"Someone I respect recently described what I do, in my artistic career, as anti-art. Not being someone who thinks quickly on their feet, I agreed and went on a rambling monologue about Robert Gober's sculpture 'Portrait of Plywood' and how it occupied the middle ground between art and everyday object, and was mind bending for that reason. Or something like that. It was long-winded and made even less sense than I'm making it seem. I was working on an artist statement at the time for my last show and wanted to write about Gober's piece and relate it to my own work and it wasn't going well. I ended up scrapping the statement and tried writing a heartfelt, emotive one that was mistakenly interpreted as a tribute to the director Gus Van Sant.
But the whole event got me thinking, not only about whether what I do is anti-art, or for that matter what anti-art is, but about our need to categorize and identify which ideology an art object represents. In my own case I've always been uncomfortable with terms like Photorealism and Realism and have written about these in the past. But it doesn't seem to stop people from using them in relation to what I do. There seems to be a shrug and then it just gets called Photorealism again. It also gets called other things, like: 'Existential Realism' (thanks art magazine) and 'the most boring paintings….ever' (thanks random blog post), and sometimes is confused with what Jack Chambers called 'Perceptual Realism' (I don't know what that is). I myself have a difficult time describing what I do and when asked, either say something along the lines of 'small, uninteresting paintings', or 'what Robert Bechtle would have done if he'd spent most of his time in bleak smallish Ontario towns rather than southern California'. But neither of these are really satisfying and risk giving the impression that I don't take art seriously; that I'm anti academic, anti conceptual, anti art or maybe even anti anti art. Or worst of all that I'm just trying to be ironic."
I don't know. Maybe I'm a 'Post Anti-Art Bechtle-Like Painter' who chose the title for this show because it might sound like a comment on some movement in Philosophy or Linguistics or Art as opposed to the light posts, unimpressive building structures and cheap motel signs it's meant to represent. Maybe I chose the title for this show because it might be mistaken for something complicated and conceptual and refer to how we attribute meaning and interpret things graphically. That it might sound thoughtful, rigorous and bookish rather than irrational, nonsensical and provocative. But I'm ok with either interpretation." - Mike Bayne, 2013
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. He was featured in the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art's group exhibition Magenta Publishing Carte Blanche, in 2008, and was featured in a 2009 issue of Border Crossings magazine. His work is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and numerous 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.