Using the literary device of the enchanted forest Bahen constructs landscape paintings by collaging multiple disparate images of landscapes together.
Inspired by science fiction/ speculative fiction specifically, the work of Jeff Vandermeer and his Southern Reach Trilogy, as well as Hayao Miyazaki films such as Princess Monoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.
Thinking about landscape painting as a subject caused Bahen to consider what makes landscape painting relevant today. One of the conclusions he arrived at is that it is impossible to look at landscape painting today without considering the issue of climate change.
Utilizing literary tropes and devices as a genesis seed in which to construct the paintings allows the conceptual conceit hum in the background of the works.
As science fiction books foreground fun adventure stories that engage the reader, Bahen creates canvases that are primarily concerned with creating an engaging image that is visually satisfying.
The use of heavy impastoed paint in Bahens work is also conceptually intentional. It is applied evenly all over the canvas creating a sense of tension by giving the eye nowhere to rest. It also signals to the viewer that the painting is to be read like a painting, since the works are representational and share a relationship to photography, where photography is tethered still to the idea of journalistic truth, paintings were allegorical.
The flowers are a recurring motif in this body of work. They are created using the same collaging technique as the landscapes, using multiple types of plants to create the image. They are inspired by the flora in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, that are beautiful yet shed a dangerous pollen. In the paintings they are meant to act as “the figure” in the work and provide a sense of the uncanny.
Joins us for the Opening Reception: Thursday, October 13th, 7 - 9 pm