MAKI Gallery is excited to present Ordinary Light, Canadian artist Keiran Brennan Hinton's first solo exhibition with the gallery at Tennoz I, Tokyo. In this collection of 18 paintings, Brennan Hinton paints the quality of light as it moves through seasons and different times of day, cumulating in an intimate look into his daily life. The first exhibition of Brennan Hinton's work in Asia, Ordinary Light comes at a pivotal moment in the artist's career, with accolades including institutional shows (I Am Here, AGO, 2022), reviews, and profiles in esteemed magazines across North America (Forbes, Artnet, Maclean's, House & Home).
Brennan Hinton paints from plein air—the practice of painting directly from life, rather than a photograph or memory. This entails painting over the course of hours, days, and weeks; each session standing in the same place, oscillating between careful looking and executing brushstrokes. Brennan Hinton's interest in painting lies within the following elements: shadow, colour, and perception. His direct surroundings work as conduits to express these elements of life, which is why the compositions communicate a universal familiarity, despite the specificity of the places Brennan Hinton paints.
The places that Brennan Hinton returns to paint—a common thread that connects the last few years of his work—are a schoolhouse built in 1918 in Eastern Ontario, the surrounding landscape, and his apartment in Toronto. These scenes display domesticity and the mundanity of everyday life through personal details. A shirt getting ready to be ironed, in Sunday Chores, is flung over a chair after disrobing in February Interior. As objects ebb and flow in the space throughout the week, the painting becomes a moving picture. Brennan Hinton captures moments in flux and cements them into permanency via paint. In Afternoon Bath, the same bright orange bath mat is repeated twice: once on the floor and again over the side of the tub. The painting challenges the normalcy of everyday life, while at the same time recording the routine of living within a space. The physicality and sturdiness of the architecture—in the schoolhouse and apartment—are in opposition to the fleeting nature of the atmosphere.
The title of the show, Ordinary Light, verges on being an oxymoron: can light ever truly be ordinary? Extraordinary and life-giving, the ubiquity of light allows it to be an ordinary kind of beauty. Brennan Hinton tracks the daily occurrence of light in each painting: the effect of light shining through a shower curtain, the beacon of light in a window in the middle of the night, and the vibrant blue of the sky at dusk. The dichotomy of light and shadow is a constant for Brennan Hinton, which is best seen in the piece Sunday Chores. Light streaming through the window is fractured through the spindles of the staircase, streaming onto the hardwood floor in a rainbow of colours and shadows—like psychedelic piano keys. Inspired by the Masters' use of light in annunciation paintings throughout history, as well as painters like Pierre Bonnard and Édouard Vuillard. For Brennan Hinton, the ordinary has the potential to become poignant.
Press Release: Written by Tatum Dooley