‘Emergent Behavior’ artist blends realistic art with dreams

After six months of preparation, Michael Haykin premiers his Emergent Behavior exhibit at Lucky Street Gallery. The Tucson, Arizona resident lived in Key West for 25 years before the hurricanes of 2005 sent him looking for a new space to paint. His work is seen throughout the country, from Montana to Palm Beach and New York City to California.

“By the time I left the Keys, I was doing multi panel work depicting the shifting nature of water and the way light works on and in the water,” he said.

Haykin attributes his work to his love for science and natural history. The palettes in his Emergent Behavior production are saturated with color with a slightly distorted perspective to lend a dream-like state to his pieces. Haykin describes emergent behavior as when a number of simple things operate in an environment forming more complex collective behavior, such as the ability for flocks of birds to turn at the same time and fish to school without bumping into each other.

“I became intrigued with elemental work – air, water and light,” the artist said while visiting Key West for his show. “For this production, I looked at things from a slightly different point of view, the territory between dreams and natural history.”

Haykin’s fresh approach to his paintings show in this exhibit, and his Lucky Street Gallery display is infused with the idea throughout.

“It’s a subtle shift, not a slap in the face to the viewers,” he said. “You see less blending between the two ideas.”

The opportunity was a great way to re-inspire himself with a new idea, but use familiar concepts. Concepts seen throughout his work include mangroves reflecting on still water, cassiopeia upside-down jellyfish, leaves sitting still on the bottom of the water, and familiar creatures like vibrant purple sea snails and man-of-war.

“I love Key West and I love Lucky Street Gallery,” he said. “They represent me so well.”

This is Lucky Street Gallery’s final formal showing of this season. It’s located at 540 Greene St., Key West. The exhibit is up through Monday, April 12 and the artist will be in the gallery on Friday and Saturday, April 4-5.

“The surface of a painting is built of micro-layers of pigment allowing light and atmosphere to subtly shift, giving the image a shimmering translucency. It is as if the objects in my work provide a backdrop against which I am painting the air.” – Michael Haykin


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