Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Gregory Hayes at Nancy Margolis Gallery - Abstraction as a peaceful transition

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My friend Ekaterina Lishmanova brought the work of Gregory Hayes to my attention and I wanted to pass this work on through Arte Fuse so that it can have a similar effect on you that it had on her (and me).  Indeed, I would encourage you to drop by the gallery in person to see and experience these paintings.

Ekaterina mentioned that this work had an immediate effect on her mood and she felt it was some of the more joyous and uplifting work she had seen in a long time.  She also pointed out that the continually decreasing squares connoted or depicted, for her, a type of transition. Yet, when we think of some type of transition, we often think of some terror-fraught experience – crossing a desert or ocean or whatever allegorical hero’s journey you can think of. 

Hayes’ work implied for her a joyful, gentle and peaceful transition from one place to another.  If you do things the right way, maybe such a transition will be possible.  Or maybe this is the only type of valid transition possible – a painful transition is no is the suffering before the real journey. Hayes’ work represents, to me as well, the possibility for a safe and peaceful journey forward.

Viewing these pieces as if they depict a transition is like passing through a light-filled tunnel or cave, the walls of which are covered by candy buttons (you know, those types of candy dots that seem glued to long strips of paper).  This candy button effect is obtained by the artist literally squeezing out little drops of acrylic paint from some type of ketchup-like dispenser. 

Viewed from far away the colors tend to look bright but faded, which makes them more inviting and accessible.  We are not confronted with gaudy or overly bright and shiny colors…the faded quality is understated and is more alluring.  It gives these bright colors a greater pacifying quality and humanity. It is as if the sharp brightness has been extinguished and a residual calm now endures for eternity.  

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