Tag Archives: Gallery Jones

Danny Singer with Mike Bayne – Artifact

Approaching similar subjects in different ways, this exhibition of Danny Singer’s large panoramas and Mike Bayne’s 4 inch x 6 inch paintings at Gallery Jones, was definitely the highlight out of the six exhibitions I viewed yesterday.

Danny Singer’s work is extremely well planned composing of photo-composites of main street in small towns on the Canadian prairies. The photographs are made in a similar fashion to Ed Ruscha’s On the Sunset Strip. Each structure in the photograph is photographed individually so that a straight on perspective is maintained throughout the whole image and side streets appear parallel to one another with numerous vanishing points throughout the images. Each photograph is made up of approximately 150 images. The street and buildings lie below the first rule of thirds while the magnificent big sky, sometimes with storm clouds, sometimes without dwarf the tiny buildings and man-made structures below, reminding the viewer just how insignificant man can be. It is all rather overwhelming.

Kerrobert Winter Sky, 43.5″ x 73″ by Danny Singer

Normally one would stand back to be able to take in the details of such a large print, but because the horizon line is so low in the images, the viewer is drawn in closer to the image to scrutinize in detail the tiny structures of each main street and to observe the amazing detail captured by the photographer. The colours are vibrant and pop. The banal looking buildings become engaging and humour becomes evident in the names of some of the motels, e.g. the Hotel California, in such an unlikely place. Singer’s large-scale photos elevate the small towns to places worth remembering. They certainly have intrigued me to the extent that I want to embark on a road trip and find some of these places.

Ceylon Summer Sky, 40″ x 78.5″ by Danny Singer

In total contrast to Singer’s work, Mike Bayne’s work is extremely small. I actually thought they were photographs but the curator informed me that they were paintings, which really makes them all the more incredible taking in the amount of fine detail that is rendered in each painting. Like Singer’s large scale photos, Bayne’s little photos – I believe the largest one was 12″ x 8″, but the majority were around 6″ x 4″ in size – draw the viewer in to examine the painting in detail. I have to admit that I was at times really hard pressed to identify something in the paintings that actually looked as if it had been painted so accurate was the representation.

Painting by Mike Bayne
Painting by Mike Bayne

Mike Bayne’s subject matter is banal, ranging from backyard sheds, house frontages, shop signage, cars parked on the street – all everyday sights common to North America and which we take for granted, now elevated to gallery status albeit in a rather quirky and quaint fashion.

“Mike Bayne’s paintings are an exercise in photo-realism. His works are painted in the genre associated with the seventeenth century Dutch school of painting. His work is a study in the effects of natural versus artificial light, and an attempt to convey a sense of human absence and isolation. Mostly, though, the paintings address the banal or commonplace objects and spaces of everyday life, and demonstrate how under close examination they are transformed.”

BlogTO

Bayne works off photographs for his paintings. He enlarges his prints to 12″ x 8″ then creates a grid on mylar and overlays this on the photo. He then creates an identical grid on a piece of masonite then draws in the information in each grid onto the masonite with graphite. The he removes the grid from the photo and starts to block in the drawing on the masonite in oil paints. After this process has dried he begins the over painting and there can be any number of layers of paint in different areas of the painting in this process.

Reference List

Timothy (2005) Mike Bayne Interview [online] BlogTO. Available at: http://www.blogto.com/arts/2005/05/mike_bayne_interview/ [Accessed 2 April, 2017]

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Erin O’Keefe at Gallery Jones

Another photographer who is featured during the month long Capture Photography Festival here in Vancouver is Erin O’Keefe. Her exhibition Things as They Are is on exhibit at the Gallery Jones.

I was first introduced to Erin O’Keefe’s work while I was doing the The Art of Photography module. O’Keefe is a visual artist based in New York and New Brunswick, Canada and has a background in architecture. This background in architecture informs a lot of her work which has to do with spatial perception.

Erin O'Keefe - Things as they are | The Flatness Series #30 & The Flatness Series #12
Erin O’Keefe – Things as they are | The Flatness Series #30 & The Flatness Series #12

All her work is very colourful and vibrant, exuding a cheerful atmosphere. One can’t walk away from her work without feeling lighter in spirit and refreshed from the rich vibrancy.

In her Flatness Series (see above) she builds a still life from painted plywood boards, photographic prints of Photoshop gradient patterns and photographs. O’Keefe states:

I am interested in the tension between the compressed space of the image and the visual clues that allude to the dimensionality of the still life. The camera is the agent of uncertainty that invites seeing as both an intimate and critical exercise.

(Gallery Jones, 2016)

One is impelled to look deeply at her work, trying to figure out how she has created these still lifes. Her work consists of strong geometric shapes, vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines and curves which all contribute towards the dynamics of each photograph. In Flatness Series #30 our eye is tricked into thinking that the photograph could very well just be paper shapes laid down flat on a surface, until we see the shadow of the diagonally placed dowel stick. It is the shadow that gives the photograph its dimensionality and changes our perceptions.

She goes even further in her illusory effects in the Natural Disasters series. In this series she also makes use of pipe cleaners, tape, mirrors, string and fabric.

Erin O'Keefe - Natural Disasters - Bullseye
Erin O’Keefe – Natural Disasters – Bullseye

The mise-en-scene is elaborately constructed, almost like a stage set. Again dimensionality is achieved through shadows, but also in the way the string intersects the various components in the frame. Is it passing behind the object or through it? In a way the photo above makes me think back to my childhood when children would raid their mothers’ cupboards for sheets and other paraphernalia and build a fort in the back yard, or living room if the weather was bad. There is definitely a sense of joie de vivre in O’Keefe’s work. For me it’s the kind of abstract work that one will not easily tire from. Every time one looks at the photograph something else is revealed.

Reference List

Gallery Jones. (2016) Erin O’Keefe | Things as they are. Vancouver. Gallery Jones.