Haines Gallery proudly presents our thirteenth solo exhibition with pioneering Bay Area artist Mike Henderson (b. 1944; lives and works in San Leandro, CA). Henderson and his work have been an integral part of the San Francisco art community for over fifty years. The Black Paintings follows Henderson’s 2019 Artadia Award and is presented in tandem with his inclusion in the de Young Museum’s Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983.

Henderson’s latest exhibition showcases a series of paintings created primarily in the early 1990s. In contrast to the brightly colored works for which Henderson is known, these “black paintings” feature a palette of lush blacks, steel grays, and ultramarine blues. The surface of each canvas is heavily worked—layered and scraped, with thick, lusciously glossy impasto. Set against the darkness, small shapes of bright blues, yellows, and reds flicker like jewels. Henderson’s interest in producing these works was to explore ideas of color, space, and time, along with a wish to “express sound within the space of the canvas.”

In addition to being a painter, Henderson is an accomplished filmmaker and blues guitarist. A series of his experimental films from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s will be shown in dialogue with the paintings. Politically charged and wickedly funny, Henderson’s remarkable shorts have been screened at museums and festivals around the world, including the New York Film Festival, Lincoln Center; Harvard Film Archive, Harvard University; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.

Mike Henderson received his BFA (1969) and MFA (1970) from the San Francisco Art Institute, and has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship (1973) and two National Endowment for the Arts Artist Grants (1978, 1989). His paintings and films have been exhibited in such distinguished exhibitions as Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Crocker Art Museum, San Francisco, CA; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. In July 2022, a major career retrospective, Mike Henderson, Before the Fire, 1965-1985 will open at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis, where Henderson taught for over 40 years.