“From Faded Fragments”
New York, 523 West 25th Street
From Faded Fragments presents six new, large-scale paintings from Hayes’s evolving Color Array series. As a means to liberate himself from past, self-imposed restrictions, Hayes has created all vertical compositions for this exhibition: each canvas is 80 x 60 inches. This new format, together with its larger scale, provides a different experience for the viewer than his square compositions. Similar to the vastness of Mark Rothko paintings, Hayes’s vertical compositions tower above the spectator, giving the presence of a doorway or portal. Despite this new orientation, the artist’s painting process remains consistent. He begins by drawing a graphite grid onto the canvas surface, creating one-quarter inch squares that cover the entire canvas. Filling a dropper with a deliberate palette of two-to-four colors, he then drips one swirling, multi-colored bead of acrylic paint into each square. By allowing the individual hues to naturally mix within the bottle, Hayes is able to create a shimmering array of prismatic spheres, each one unique in its combination and distribution of colors. The final compositions are concentric rectangles of gradating color.
Interested in the interaction of colors, Hayes uses color as a catalyst for expressing mood and emotion. Each of the paintings in this exhibition embodies a distinct character and energy as a consequence of the artist’s discerning eye for organizing color across space. In Untitled (HyNyCbc) (2019), bands of dark blue and green radiate from a golden center, alternating with softer hues of cream and yellow. The rhythm of dark-to-light stripes creates a tantalizing optical vibration. Untitled (MbVPg) — Ghost (2019) uses three hues to elicit a more serene mood. Painted with shades of blue, violet and grey, it has a tranquil presence. With unique dispersals and proportions of color in each canvas, From Faded Fragments highlights the ability of various color relationships to provoke a mélange of sensory experiences.
As an alternative to painting, Hayes often channels his creativity through poetry. For Hayes, painting and poetry are complementary. For this exhibition, the title references a line from a poem that he wrote in response to creating these paintings, thus forming a bridge between his painting and his poetry. In each of his compositions, one can spot a poetic moment; an instance when two beads of paint coalesce, creating an altogether new form that asserts itself amidst rows of symmetric dots. His embrace of chance, through the unpredictable nature of his dropper and the properties of the paint, sets the stage for this spontaneous merging of two or more drips. In these poetic moments—felix culpa or “happy accidents,” as Hayes refers to them—the viewer can feel a profound connection to the artist’s process. They emphasize the human touch, emotion, and surprise in his precise, mathematically-inspired grids. In an interview with the editor of Xibt Magazine from August 2018, Hayes commented on the value of allowing chance to influence aspects of his paintings: “In my work I strive for exactness. Perhaps it is paradoxical that in striving for perfection—and never reaching it—it is there that you actually find it.” Hayes’s large-scale, meticulous compositions show us that there is beauty even in imperfection.