Amanda Reeves review in Globe & Mail.
R.M. Vaughan: The Exhibitionist
On first inspection, painters Amanda Reeves and Mike Bayne have little in common. Reeves paints thin, delicate streams of feather and leaf-like shapes exploding outward onto monochromatic canvases. Her darting forms remind me of traditional Islamic calligraphic art, and, pardon the stretch, mid-sixties modernist decorative motifs.
Bayne is a photo-realist painter. His paintings of modest suburban homes and stretches of unimpressive urban sprawl are so crazily close to photographic replications they create the feeling one is seeing the world through a new, stronger pair of glasses. Bayne’s subjects are banally real, and then, as his technique creeps up on you, suddenly more than real, hyper real. The paintings make definite and solid what our eyes and brains are accustomed to overlooking.
What, then, is the connection? Both Reeves and Bayne are actively attempting to erase the presence of the painter.
Reeves’s works are so finely crafted, I defy anyone to find evidence of a brush at play (and, her gallerist tells me, Reeves never uses stencils or outlines her shapes with tape – it’s all deathly still hand work). There are areas in Reeves’s paintings where shape and background almost completely blend, reaching near invisibility.
Bayne similarly negates his painterly authority. Bayne’s previous works gave the careful viewer gentle hints, little nodding drips and swipes, that the paintings were something more than photographs. Well, all bets are off now – Bayne has embraced the photo half of photo realism with a vengeance, to the point of possibly questioning the very use of painting itself.
Cao Fei and Joan Kaufman revivify, with new technologies, the primordial human dreams of shape shifting and flight – two forms of ultimate personal autonomy. Meanwhile, Amanda Reeves and Mike Bayne, using ancient technologies, go to great lengths to cloak the “artist’s voice,” another sacred autonomy.
How does that old curse/blessing go: May you live in interesting times?