Matt Bahen: Many Feet Have Crossed This Stream

November 30 - December 22, 2017

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 30, 6-8 PM

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of paintings by Matt Bahen. The exhibition will open on November 30th and run until December 22nd with an opening reception on Thursday, November 30th. This is Bahen’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.

In his paintings, Matt Bahen explores the delicate balance between forces of loss and renewal – truths that are at once difficult, hopeful and central to our shared human experience. Over the last several years, he has developed various motifs within the genre of landscape that act as visceral allegories to navigate this theme. Bahen’s work is influenced by his native landscape in rural Ontario as well as literature, particularly the writings of Cormac McCarthy, T.S. Eliot and Joseph Conrad. Listening to recordings and reading novels is an integral part of Bahen’s process, as is evidenced by the titles of his paintings which are derived from the authors’ texts. Bahen’s goal is to emulate their dense and evocative language, with paint.

Many Feet Have Crossed This Stream presents familiar subjects - fire, water, animals and forests – in new and sometimes unsettling contexts. A large bonfire burns in the woods while the absence of human presence is noticeably felt; orange shapes washed ashore are implicitly understood as lifejackets and colourful rags that adorn the branches of trees are the sites of ancient Celtic healing rituals. The title of this exhibition alludes to the layered histories of the places Bahen depicts in his paintings. The specific events that he draws our attention to only play a small part in what is a continuous cycle of decay and rebirth.

The most defining characteristic of Bahen’s practice is his impasto style that creates an immersive experience for the viewer. The oscillation between engagement with the subject and the physicality of the surfaces in his paintings challenges our perception and holds our gaze.