Michael Caines - Mammalia

For his first exhibition at Galerie Youn, Michael Caines presents slyly satirical portraits of animals situated against backdrops that borrow liberally from a range of historical styles, including eighteenth century romanticism, kitsch religious paintings and early modernism. The pathos and humor of his pictures suggests nostalgia for the pleasure inherent in anachronistic modes of painting, and for a fantasy of nature less coloured by our consciousness of its global, human-made decline. Caines’ self-aware dolphins, deer and cats pose with an earnestness customarily reserved for human portraiture or social-media selfies. Underlying the seeming facetiousness of his work, Caines complicates our understanding of his relationship to both nature and the art world, expressing a longing for and an alienation from these disparate habitats. His deft paint handling is on display as he manages to paint with both gravitas and tongue planted firmly in cheek, in works where staring into the eye of a squirrel, as it is rendered by Caines, is to confront the human condition at its most profound and ridiculous. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZXbyGghgDI&feature=em-upload_owner

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