Whether Painting Indoors or Out, Canadian Artist Keiran Brennan Hinton Imbues His Serial Studies With Intimacy and Devotional Intensity

Keiran Brennan Hinton, Morning Coffee (2023).Courtesy of the artist and Charles Moffett.

 At daybreak, Canadian artist Keiran Brennan Hinton (1992) angles a canvas—the biggest one he can fit—into the back of his car. He has refined this packing process, limiting himself to necessities. Into the car goes an easel, umbrellas, tarps, the six pigments he has narrowed his palette to (two blues, two reds, two yellows), along with whatever sustenance he needs for the hours ahead.

“These are the logistical things that I’ve had to figure out over the past couple of years,” he explained to me during a video call from a studio he’s rented for the summer in Toronto.

Brennan Hinton, who earned his MFA at Yale in 2016, started painting en plein air several years back and has spent the intervening years crafting a practice that is adaptable, responsive, and focused. When Brennan Hinton is working on a nocturnal scene, for instance, he might head out well into the evening hours, adding a headlight to his kit.

“I bought a gazebo recently to shield myself from rain if I’m painting in the forest behind my house. I also have a bug suit and the headlight,” he said, with a smile. “With the headlight on, all the bugs start to come to you. I go back and forth between having the light on so I can see the palette in the painting, but also not wanting to be fully swarmed. Sometimes, halfway through a painting, it’ll start to rain, so then I’ll have to incorporate that rain into the work itself. The works become panoramas of time in some way, and they try to incorporate everything that happens from the beginning to the end of the painting.”

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