Gallery artist Mike Henderson joined the San Francisco art scene
in the mid-sixties, gaining major momentum by painting scenes from
the social upheaval of the times. "The paintings were just
flowing out of me," says Henderson. "I'd never seen black
people in this position," referring to prominent figures such
as Eldridge Cleaver, Angela Davis, and the Black Panthers. A trip
to the 1967 Monterey International Pop Music Festival with Buffalo
Springfield also changed Henderson's life and art when he experienced
up close the music of Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding. Henderson came
from a small town in Missouri, where an early patron who bought
paintings from the young man's shoeshine stand, helped him get a
loan to go to art school in the Bay Area. "I knew from the
beginning I wanted to be an artist," says Henderson. In San
Francisco, he earned a BFA and MFA from the SF Art Institute, the
only local art school that was integrated at the time, and one of
the first such in the U.S.
recent works are mostly abstract rather than figurative, and abstract
expressionism is now the corner of the art world where he hangs
his hat. Many paintings are built up in blocks or fields of color,
with wide brushstrokes and palette knife swipes of paint to remove
any favorite spots. According to the Henderson, these deletions
open up the whole painting. His focus on abstract work could change
again, of course. As the artist says, "Paintings never give
you what you like, they give you what they want. . . . When nature
has something it wants to bring forth into the world, it just puts
it into a human." Such an open and inviting philosophy must
have been a blessing to Henderson's students at UC Davis; he is
now retired as Professor Emeritus after 43 years of teaching. Henderson's
openness in this way also opens the door to contemporary themes
even in abstractions. This exhibit, aptly titled Insight: Paintings
by Mike Henderson, demonstrates the artist's range, breadth,
and depth of feeling and vision.
Henderson is also
an accomplished blues musician, another talent that he had wanted
to develop since his youth, and a filmmaker with an impressively
long filmography. His artworks have been shown widely, in both solo
and group exhibitions throughout California as well as in Missouri,
New Mexico, Oregon, and Bern, Switzerland. His work has been collected
by SF MOMA, Crocker Art Museum, Oakland Museum of Art, Honolulu
Academy of Arts, Microsoft, and Genentech Corporation, among other
museums and institutions. He has received awards from the Flintridge
Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Guggenheim.
The artworks in Insight are on loan from the artist and
Haines Gallery, San Francisco, and we are delighted to share them
with the public.
To learn more
about the artist and his work, come to
the Artist/Curator Talk on closing Sunday,
June 30, at 3:30 pm.
Sanchez Art Center
is located at 1220 Linda Mar Blvd in Pacifica, about a mile east
of Highway 1. Following opening night, the galleries are open Friday,
Saturday, and Sunday, 1–5 pm, and by appointment, through June 30.
For more information, email info@SanchezArtCenter.org
or call 650.355.1894.