Nancy Margolis Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of Gregory Hayes’s first solo New York exhibition, Shooting Star, on April 3, 2014, and on view through May 17, 2014. The opening reception will take place Thursday, April 3, from 6–8 pm.
In his large-scale acrylic-on-canvas Color Array paintings, New York City-based Hayes explores the possibilities of paint through minimalist, pattern-based compositions. Most fundamentally, the works in Shooting Star explore mark making and the fluidity—physically and theoretically—of paint as a medium. Each work is constructed using a precise mathematical formula. Within the resulting grid of ¼ inch squares, Hayes employs a unique tool (a squeeze bottle) to apply drops of paint to the surface in predetermined patterns of concentric squares. However, the proportion of colors within each drip changes organically and gradually over time, yielding unexpected variation as the layers of paint in the bottle gently mix. From afar, the paintings have a meditative and calming aura. Together, each drop of paint creates a larger image and when close up, the pattern reveals the artist’s hand ever so evident in the wavering graphite lines of the grid and as each drip is semi off-centered in varying sizes. Herein lies the central push-and-pull of Hayes’s work. In spite of the exactness of the underlying grid, each mark is a unique and uncontrollable swirl of paint; at the same time, each contributes to the complexity of the overall design.
In this way, Shooting Star is more an investigation into the vocabulary of painting than homage to any particular art genre. For instance, as the name of the Color Array series suggests, Hayes is much concerned with color, and especially with color mixing. In each work, the drips play part in a large-scale color-based pattern; yet, on a small-scale, each drip contains its own kaleidoscopic pattern of color. The exhibition’s overall coolness of mood thus owes more to the depth of artistic intrigue than to the works’ minimalist aesthetic. Indeed, Hayes’s works are decidedly self-aware: a drop of paint at once references the history mark making, and the immediacy, spontaneity and complexity of paint as a medium. In spite of Hayes’s simple artistic vocabulary—and also because of it—the viewer is made acutely aware of the forces at play here and in painting at large—between the calculated and the expressive, the planned and the accidental, the rigidity of confinement and the fluid, tactile nature of paint.
GREGORY HAYES is based in Brooklyn, New York. Hayes began studying art with original Drop City artist Clark Richert at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, where he received his BFA in Painting and was named Most Distinguished Artist. He received his MFA in Painting from the City University of New York, Brooklyn College where he studied with Vito Acconci. Hayes has exhibited in renown institutions throughout the United States including Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Rocky Mountain College, SCOPE Basel, Art Wynwood, SCOPE Miami, and with the College Art Association (CAA) New York. He has also been featured in numerous publications, including the Brooklyn Downtown Star, the Denver Post, the Huffington Post and Art Fag City. This is his first exhibition with Nancy Margolis Gallery.
SHOOTING STAR April 3 – May 17, 2014
There are moments in time that are unrepeatable. They hold great power in our lives and can change our existence. It is when chance and control collide. It is when we lift up our eyes and they fall upon a shooting star… -gdh
Though technology and digital media overshadow painting, I consider painting an organic and gestural process that offers infinite possibilities for imagery, statement, and perception. To me, painting – one of the most conventional of disciplines – is ultimately one of the most experimental, exhilarating, and enduring of all media.
In my work I explore how paint can be used through various tools and techniques to reinvent what it means to mix colors and present patterns through everything from mathematically inspired grids on canvas to organically placed works on paper. My objective is to heighten the viewer’s sensitivity to subtle variations and to reveal that pictorial complexity can be achieved through a restricted vocabulary.
In my Color Array series, I use a predetermined pattern based on the Archimedean spiral combined with the unpredictability of the interaction of my process and the materials used to produce systemic images that are fueled by accidental nuances within confined spaces. I lay down drips of paint on pre-drawn ¼ inch grids. This involves applying paint to the surface of the canvas and allowing it to form natural convex circles. The application process causes there to be multiple colors within each individual drip, and the proportions of the colors change gradually as the process continues. Visually, the drips coalesce to reveal a larger pattern. I try to control the amount of paint in each region equally, but ultimately the paint has a life of its own due to its physical properties and to gravity. I welcome these chance interventions.
Each painting in my Color Array series evokes a concern and fascination in itself, its complexities, its visual dynamics, its achievement of manipulation and technique, and the demonstration of artistic capacity. These paintings expand on my previous experimentation with brushless painting and geometric abstraction.
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