Spotlight: Canadian Artist Michael Batty Uses Color Theory to Create ‘Tone Poems’ on Canvas
"Same Difference," now on view at Vancouver's Gallery Jones, brings together works from three of the artist's recent series.
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About the Artist: Over his 30-year career, the Canadian contemporary artist Michael Batty has consistently pursued the expressive potential of color. The artist studied at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver and participated in several prestigious Emma Lake Artists’ Workshops, where he studied under Anthony Caro, Dorothy Knowles, and William Perehudoff, among others. The artist’s first solo exhibition with Vancouver’s Gallery Jones brings together several bodies of work the artist has been developing over the past four years, all of which experiment with hues within seemingly strict parameters.
Why We Like It: This vibrantly colorful show, titled “Same Difference,” brings together three recent series. A number of works from Batty’s ongoing “Tone Poems” are on view, which explore the relationship between color, pattern, music, and language. Just as poems evoke a vision with a limited number of words, these paintings aim to provoke complex emotional responses from color-block arrangements. Batty calls these works “visual haikus.” After Batty’s many years studying color theory, these works, which are based on intuition, are the equivalent of improvisational music. Also on view are works from the artist’s most recent series, “Ladder,” in which Batty attempts to convey messages or meanings to the viewer through patterns and rhythms of color. These works incorporate the wall on which they hang as part of the artist’s continued exploration of sculptural and painterly concerns. Lastly, the show features “Standard: Scored,” a series of monochromatic laser etchings made by light scorching thick paper, which in many ways are the compositional building blocks of the other series.
According to the Gallery: “By working with set variables such as pattern and geometric constrictions, Batty is discovering limitless possibilities within variances of color and composition. In an interview leading up to this exhibition, Batty acknowledged that it has taken his whole life up to this point to learn to take things away; removing elements has been liberating. The accumulation of experience that has led to these paintings can be seen as an equation between equality and difference,” Gallery Jones wrote in a statement.
See images from “Same Difference” below.
“Michael Batty: Same Difference” is on view at Gallery Jones through April 20, 2022.
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