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Michael Batty: Prospect

Newzones Gallery, Calgary, Alberta
Jun 8, 2001 - Jul 8, 2001


Michael Batty, title (2000),
acrylic on panel

The most provocative aspect of Michael Batty's paintings is his technique. It appears that he lays strings or wires across canvases (perhaps he wraps them over and over again like packages, but at wildly divergent angles?) then draws paint swiftly over the surfaces before the wires are removed to expose criss-crossed lines of light and dark.

Or perhaps he paints with a knife rather than a brush, swiping the blade back and forth across the surface before dragging paint from scored facet to facet.

However he does it, in the 12 years since his graduation from Emily Carr, this look has become Michael Batty's signature. Every piece is a variation on the theme. At their best, the paintings explode with patterns reminiscent of neural networks, or are dense with sharp metallic edges and highlights like the traces of skaters' blades on the ice of a lake. They simultaneously conjure thoughts of electricity, architectural blueprints, night skies and Rorschach tests. The odd flaw or blob in the webs is just enough to add human touches to the otherwise cool aestheticism of his work.

© Mia Johnson