Haines Gallery is pleased to present Parallel Spaces, a solo exhibition comprising new paintings and works on paper by Mike Henderson (b. 1944; lives and works in San Francisco, CA). Henderson’s twelfth solo exhibition with Haines Gallery sees the introduction of new colors and materials to his palette, a testament to the enduring vitality and inventiveness of a pioneering Bay Area artist whose career now spans over forty years.
Parallel Spaces explores the notion of parallels; of the people, places, things and ideas that are opposite, apart yet analogous—and the liminal space in between. Henderson explains, “Everyday we interact with life’s parallels. I have always been interested in what things are and what things are not, depending on the distance and awareness of the viewer; the parallels of knowing and not knowing, seeing and not seeing.” In these new works, Henderson examines the spaces that we inhabit, in parallel to nature and to one another, and what is revealed or concealed when these spaces shift and move.
The exhibition debuts a suite of acrylic works on paper, his first time working with the medium in 45 years. In contrast to his thickly layered oil paintings, Henderson’s application of paint here is sparse, almost sheer at times, framed and sometimes interrupted by negative space. Brightly hued vertical lines recall curtains or blinds, pulling apart here and there to reveal something just beyond. Here, the difference in approach grew from the character of acrylic paint, which dries more rapidly and is less flexible to mixing of colors as compared to oil paint, forcing the artist to work in quick and decisive motions. If Henderson’s paintings are a symphony, then his works on paper are a melody, singular but distinct.
Presented in dialogue with these works are a series of new oil paintings. Some feature colorful grid-like compositions (Parrallel Portions, 2017), a tightly controlled series of vertical and horizontal lines that echo the works on paper. Each medium responds to the other, while maintaining the lyricism and spontaneity that characterizes his practice. Henderson paints with both brushes and palette knives, applying and constantly reworking thick layers of paint. The resulting works are kaleidoscopes of color, form and texture. The physicality of his approach and his responsiveness to the medium are evident in paintings such as Most of It (2017), a rough-hewn patchwork of vibrant blue; and Wherever is the Light (2017), in which a bright jolt of red peeks out from beneath a thick impasto of black paint.
Born in Missouri and based in San Francisco, CA, Mike Henderson received his BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. His work as a painter and filmmaker has been exhibited in such distinguished institutions as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Oakland Museum of California, CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. In addition to painting, Henderson has performed at music halls and festivals around the world as an accomplished blues guitarist. He is a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Grant (1978, 1989); and a Guggenheim Fellowship (1973).