10 Sep 2016

Among George’s large quiver of quotable aphorisms is the critical perspective “he (some artist) may be hitting bull’s eyes, but he’s not standing back from the dartboard”.

Haynes, in a move possibly surprising to some, has in the current work stepped further back from the dartboard than we’ve seen in some time… but is spearing as many bulls as ever, probably more. The degree of difficulty in these works won’t be apparent to all, but if you’ve spent any time in that particular bull ring, hoping you’re waving the right coloured cape, you’ll know how much so this is the case.

Ask Vermeer how hard it is to set up the intervals when light and shade cross a richly coloured brocade curtain. Visit The Art of Painting (The Artist in His Studio) Ca. 1665.  This is an exercise the complexity of which has its counterpart right across this show, when a postulated shaft of light, illuminates a postulated, already complex, “existing” two-dimensional picture of a three dimensional space. Additionally complex, inasmuch as Haynes is not merely faithfully recording, but on the basis of a profound understanding of exactly how light does illuminate… positing these phenomena in imagined scenarios… when not writing abstract sonnets on that multi dimensional chromatic keyboard. The variables that provide the dimensions to this instrument are too numerous to mention but start with tone, temperature, saturation, hue, depth of field, reflection, refraction, transmission, mark size/angle, opacity, edge quality, weight, taper and 42 more. I mention them merely as a reminder of what is actually involved in virtuosity.

I think JS Bach would be impressed.  Fashion a cloth from a fully saturated hue. Bring on the counterpoint. Thread it with waves of programmatic chromatic modulations, key changes, changes of register and syncopating stripes. The whole time keep an overall intended flavour/character/gender in mind. Take this fabric and expose it to an imagined light that has been shaped by an imagined portal. Or… pleat that invented topography and go figure what happens next to the incoming light rays, if it is 5pm and there is a sea breeze. Then reverse back over every pixel and tweak where necessary so that the whole doesn’t just sit… but sings. The Haynes hills too, are clad with such awesome considerations. You can almost watch in real time as they crystallise into orchestrations.

Where the game is at its most complex - and rewards really sustained viewing (for me anyway) - is not in the lyrical picturing but in the freer purely instrumental aspects, in what might have been once thought of as the abstract elements.

Meanwhile George’s flamethrower is cremating what’s left of the former distinction between the abstract and the objective (or whatever you prefer to have as its antagonist). I can see the light from the fire now, illuminating a brocade curtain. I see George squinting, musing, nutting it out, proposing a fresh game and inventing in front of nature.


Ben Joel

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