As someone once said, “Painting might be dead–but it just won’t lie down”. As long as artists are inspired by other generations of artists in all mediums, none can ever really die. Mike Carr, a.k.a China Mike of Bristol, England, emerged in the 1990s as a “brush for hire” in the music and retail industries, and has since gone on to exhibit in galleries around the globe.
I see a significant Francis Bacon influence in Carr’s work, as well as a bit of David Salle, Eric Fischl, Richard Hamilton, perhaps Jean-Michel Basquiat. As with Bacon, the work skirts the grotesque, with its “defacements”, but is tempered by the beauty emerging from the combination of materials and their application.
Margaret Thatcher once dissed Francis Bacon as “the man that paints those dreadful pictures”. Clearly history has rightfully affirmed her own bad taste for panning what is essentially dramatic figurative painting. Not that Carr’s images are necessarily macabre, but they highlight the fact that many art viewers may automatically bring a bias to the experience and may entirely miss either color, figure, line and composition, all of which Carr’s work excels in.