American, b. 1944
Lives and works in San Francisco, California
Rather than working from preconceived plans, Mike Henderson is guided by an openness and responsiveness to painting’s potential, believing that the medium “comes from the ground, through you and out you.” Working with a palette knife as much as a brush, his rough-hewn canvases testify to the physicality of his approach and his visceral relationship to material and surface.
Through his highly gestural and tactile paintings, Henderson reveals a palpable connection to post-war abstraction, coupled with a defining instinct for improvisation. Henderson’s latest work exemplifies a growing distinction between figure and ground, surprising colors and nested forms. He conjures conversations he has heard, and places he has visited—manifesting these experiences through texture, form and color. His latest work is an example of his underlying inspiration: his lived experience, those moments that “stick in your retinas,” according to the artist.
Henderson’s work as a painter and filmmaker has been exhibited in such distinguished institutions as Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (1971, 1970); the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (1971); the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA (1986); the de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA (1996); the di Rosa Preserve, Napa, CA (2009); and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016). His paintings are included in the collections of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; Phoenix Art Museum, AZ; and Honolulu Academy of Art, HI. In addition to painting, Henderson is an accomplished blues guitarist who has performed at music halls and festivals around the world. Henderson received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973 and is a two-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Grant. He was a recipient of the 2003/2004 Flintridge Foundation Award for Visual Artists.