Known for his large, aggressive and masculine paintings of monkeys and more recently shown, his portraits of snipers, Bahen has taken a sharp turn from his normal subject matter to focus on another facet of the military environment.
War Photography and especially the photography of victims of war has come to dominate the most recent series of watercolours from Bahen. Small in scale and delicate in their approach, the images, culled from online searches reflect a compassion typical of the figures in Bahen’s work. Bahen is quick to mention that he has not seen service in the military and not been a witness to any of the events depicted but draws on his recent work as a social worker in Downtown Toronto to link parallels of experience, however distant or loose they may seem. Compassion is central to the production and experience of these works and are presented as an exploration for not only the artists but the viewer as well.
"Hope in this context does not ignore the worst dimensions of human suffering, exploitation and social relations; on the contrary, it acknowledges the need to sustain the capacity to see the worst and offer more than that for our consideration.”
Matt Bahen is a graduate of the Drawing and Painting Program at the Ontario College of Art and Design (2002). Matt Bahen has exhibited in numerous artists run and commercial galleries in Toronto and the United States and has upcoming shows in Canada and the USA. Matt Bahen is currently represented by Moore Gallery in Toronto.