Henderson moved to the Bay Area in 1965 to attend the San Francisco Art Institute, and has been an important fixture of the local art scene ever since. Today, he is known for his abstract, highly gestural paintings that demonstrate a palpable connection to post-war abstraction and a defining instinct for improvisation. Also an accomplished filmmaker and blues musician, the artist’s lived experiences—those moments that “stick to your retinas”—are conjured up in his work through his skilled use of texture, form, and color.
Mike Henderson: At the Edge of Paradise, Henderson’s thirteenth solo exhibition at Haines Gallery, features a suite of newly created, large-scale abstract paintings whose complex palettes and carefully worked surfaces explore the tension between gestural and geometric abstraction. In each grid-like or vertically striated canvas, Henderson applies thick layers of paint to produce deeply textured, three-dimensional surfaces, with paint scraped off in some areas to reveal under-layers of color and texture. Radiant with possibility, Henderson’s latest works reflect an artist who has arrived at his prime. As the critic Mark Van Proyen describes, “Henderson seems to be reminding the viewer that joy and a delightful immediacy can still be found in art.”
At the Edge of Paradise opens in tandem with the de Young Museum’s presentation of Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, 1963-1983, which features an important early painting of Henderson’s; and Henderson’s recent retrospective, Honest to Goodness, at SFAI’s Walter and McBean Galleries. In July 2022, a major career retrospective, Mike Henderson, Before the Fire, 1965-1985 will open at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis, where Henderson taught for over 40 years.
Mike Henderson was born in 1944 in Marshall, MO, and currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.
MIKE HENDERSON: At the Edge of Paradise
Exhibition Dates: November 7 – December 14, 2019
San Francisco, CA