FEBRUARY LANDSCAPE, STUDY NO.6, 2004
oil on board
5 ins x 7 ins; 22.9 cms x 17.8 cms
Mike Bayne’s (b.1977) pictures show a continued interest in scrutinising everyday experience. He focuses on points of interest encountered on the side of the (typically Canadian) street that are characterised by their banality: motels and bungalows, overgrown trees and dying businesses, telephone poles and busted signage are all subjects which Bayne treats with secular reverence.
In February Landscape, this banality is rendered almost as a vacancy. Cars and ground are half-buried under a white field of snow, while a burnished-steel sky becomes an illegible haze. A bright blue house, dominating the right of the image, provides no warmth or security: there is no interior light, and no front door to provide entrance. Dark windows become inscrutable punctures, concealing more than they reveal. There is throughout, however, an immediacy that develops into a sense of absorption: the stillness of the image, the undisturbed cold after a snowfall, the sharp edges of the air all work to create an inward draw in the eye of the viewer. The compulsive allure of the work is exacerbated by its diminutive size: the photorealistic detail rendered minutely, forcing one to get close to the image and address it intimately. Carefully refined and precisely rendered, Bayne’s work elevates the instantly recognisable everyday into a scene that is subtle, compelling, and mesmerising.
Galerie de Bellefeuille, Montreal
Private Collection, Montreal