MIKE BAYNE at Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects (1086 Queen West), to October 28. 416-537-8827. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNNN
Mike Bayne's houses, stripmalls, Fields & Factories series is not what it seems. At first glance, the small works appear to be photographs of banal suburban spaces. Zero in on the images' surfaces and tiny brush strokes emerge, revealing that these are in fact hyperrealist paintings.
Nevertheless, Bayne fervently denies being a photorealist painter. In his artist's statement, he says he sees his work as part of a wider and longer-standing tradition of painting that's based on photography, and before that on projected images.
But I see parallels. What I love about photography and photorealistic painting is the deceptive nature of recorded "reality."
As I searched for the painterly quality in these scenes, I found myself asking, "Where is the litter? Was there really no trash?"
Photorealistic paintings play with the idea of capturing a "real" moment. Painters, like photographers, can edit and skew an image to suit their own wishes.
Bayne's scenes of Mimico have a Jim Jarmusch quality, a feeling of isolation and emptiness, a sense that anything could happen. He depicts all that is wondrous and useless in the suburban landscape.
His paintings are very good, fresh and somehow buoyant despite their starkness.
Half the exhibition's already sold, so others must share my sentiments.