Michael Haykin’s exhibition, Painting A Pandemic, takes the viewer on a visual journey into cultural behaviors, world and national events, personal experience, and the powerful effect of the COVID pandemic to magnify and dissect a changing new world.
A Montana based painter known primarily for his large multi panel paintings of nature and of natural phenomena, Haykin introduces an extraordinary new body of work in this exhibition. In March 2020, the artist was at work in his Boulder, Montana studio producing paintings which explore time in its various increments; seasons, minutes, and seconds, when the COVID pandemic rapidly emerged. After his first time wearing a mask for safety in public, and feeling awkward and self-conscious, he returned to his studio to make a painting about his experience. This first painting led to a two-year long exploration of the pandemic’s new world order. The mask image morphs and is replaced by images of natural elements, and the artist explores world and current events framed by the pandemic.
In Painting A Pandemic, the paintings are large, often monumental in scale. Figures in the paintings appear frozen in space, many with vacant, detached gazes, while the colors around them are bold, and even artificially vibrant.
While creating these works of art, Haykin shared images with Jessica Argyle, a Florida-based author. Responding from nearly 3,000 miles away, Argyle’s perspective on the paintings led to a deeply meaningful cooperative experience during a time of frequent isolation. Her poetry and flash fiction inspired by the artworks will be incorporated into the exhibition experience. Public programs related to the exhibition will center around this collaboration.
Painting A Pandemic explores collective and individual experiences of a global pandemic while celebrating creative collaborations across time and distance.
exhibition related news
The Billings Gazette I Jake Iverson I July 3, 2022
exhibition related events
Summer Art Studio: Paint a Face, July 28, (Session 1: 10 AM – Noon & Session 2: 1 – 3 PM): This Thursday session, be inspired by the work of Michael Haykin in the exhibition Painting a Pandemic, use negative space to create a self portrait. Ages 5-12.
Deborah Anspach & Dr. John Hanson