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Outside of Time James Hayward & Dan McCleary

August 26, 2019 - September 20, 2019


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Outside of Time James Hayward & Dan McCleary

August 26, 2019 - September 20, 2019


Contents /01

Introductory essay by David Pagel

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Hayward Abstract Monochromes

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Hayward Abstract Diptychs

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McCleary Portraits

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McCleary Studies

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Collections


Palpable & Present Every volume in the Magic Tree House, a series of children’s books that I used to read to my kids, includes the line: “Then everything was still. Absolutely still.” It was the point in the story when Mary Pope Osborne’s pair of pint-size protagonists was about to take off on an impossible adventure through time and space. My kids insisted that I read those two sentences real slow, so that they’d experience the same stillness the book’s characters were experiencing. When that happened, fiction became reality. It was as if the world turned into a three-dimensional picture: time stood still, the moment was full, it lacked for nothing. In other words, it was perfect. That same stillness—and elusive, fugitive perfection— suffuses James Hayward’s abstract canvases and Dan McCleary’s figurative paintings. Every time I lay eyes on either artist’s work—and slow down so that I leave room for a little stillness in my day—I experience, I image, what my kids did when they heard “Then everything was still. Absolutely still.” In the hands of both painters, that stillness is physical. It takes shape on the surfaces of their canvases, where gestures and brushstrokes, whether applied swiftly or slowly, vigorously or gently—with abandon or deliberation or both—work together to create a situation in which time’s passage is incidental to the impact of their artistry. In analytical terms, their paintings are non-narrative. They do not tell stories that unfold over time, fleshing out details and filling in contexts, so much as they invite each of us into a moment that stands on its own, its stillness palpable and present, neither disconnected from the world around it nor so firmly moored to the pace and pulse of that reality that their works do nothing more than duplicate the increasingly accelerated distractions and impatienceinducing instantaneity served up by our digital devices. As painters, Hayward and McCleary make space and time for something radically different from that: an intensification or concentration of sensory experience. Patient contrarians, or dissenters who are in it for the long haul, they know the value of the moment and the importance of persistence. The pointblank perceptions 1

their paintings deliver stop us from living as if on autopilot (or cruise-control) and startle us into seeing the world for what it is: a shared reality suffused with more possibility than we can grasp, literally, or translate into words, metaphorically. Rather than rehashing the misguided idea that artistic transcendence requires corporeal reality to be left in the rearview mirror as we are magically and mysteriously rocketed off to some otherworldly realm of dreamy, idealized perfection, Hayward’s and McCleary’s paintings demonstrate that transcendence is a matter of down-to-earth physicality, of being so fully and completely in the moment that it is perfect: its absolute stillness thrilling, expansive, infinite. It’s easy to see that Hayward’s paintings are nonnarrative: they’re abstract, many are monochrome, and there’s not a trace of an image to be seen—even if you squint and let your imagination run rampant. But abstract painting, today, is still seen as self-expression, its marks and brushstrokes read as signs and symbols of its maker’s inner sentiments, which include unconscious inklings, repressed desires, and all manner of otherwise inexpressible intuitions. That’s how the Freudians (and other critics enamored of psychoanalysis) interpreted Abstract Expressionism in the 1950s, transforming its compositions (and the visual dynamics they generated) into stories about past traumas, present fantasies, and, worst of all, symptoms of social problems, which themselves had more to do with politics and prejudice


than with paint on canvas. The long shadow of such narrative-based analysis still falls over contemporary painting, leading another generation of commentators to understand paintings like Hayward’s in terms of the artist’s self: the ego, the identity, and the singular, inimitable genius of the painter as the protagonist in some story that gets told about the overwrought drama of it all. Hayward could not be less interested in such elaborately crafted fictions. His paintings have nothing, whatsoever, to do with self-expression. The articulation of his inner sentiments is neither the point nor the purpose of his works. Describing, much less defining, the self could not be further from Hayward’s mind when he goes into the studio and gets down to work. In fact, his mind is what his paintings push out of the spotlight and into the background, putting his controlling consciousness—or ego—on hold. Hayward goes out his way to take his self out of his paintings. His process—choosing a color and piling up brushstrokes so that every one matters and none overshadows another—insures that every single brushstroke is defined by its relationship to those around it, and not by its relationship to some inchoate feeling he supposedly needs to blurt out. His four-color paintings prioritize paint even more potently: As the brushstrokes accumulate, the colors mix, creating a subtle rainbow of tints and tones whose range if far greater than the sum of its elements. Time doesn’t stand still so much as your stillness reveals a world both immediate and beautiful. McCleary’s paintings are more likely to be mistaken for narrative works because that is the pigeonhole into which figurative paintings have been pigeonholed for centuries. But McCleary is not a storyteller. As a painter, he is far less interested in conveying the particularities of a time and the vividness of a place and the uniqueness of the people who move through both than he is in drawing viewers into situations in which we come face-to-face with our own interiority. The interior lives of viewers, not

those of his subjects—and certainly not of his self—are McCleary’s great subject. That’s a wildly ambitious project and McCleary has gone at it for his decade-spanning career much in the same way that Hayward has gone at gestural abstraction: by putting a good measure of distance between his self and his brushstrokes. McCleary does not make painterly marks that call attention to themselves individually. Nor does he apply brushstrokes so that they combine to form compositions that scream, “Look at me! I’m all about painterly virtuosity! Every detail’s exquisite! Relish its specialness!” Instead, McCleary paints as if anonymity were a virtue. And a whisper more powerful than a shout. And honest workmanship its own reward. And stillness a great way to move viewers. His conviction, that commonness is valuable—and essential to our humanity—flies in the face of the idea that art is about the exception, not the rule; the standout, not the standard; the drama, not the mundane; the one-of-a-kind, not the everyday; the VIP, not John or Jane Doe. McCleary’s restrained paintings turn all of those expectations—and the conventions based on them—on their ear, transforming business-as-usual into a fundamentally different way of both understanding reality and interacting with the world in which we all live. His pictures of in-between moments—or pauses in the action—belong to a world in which detachment and intimacy are not opposites. That’s also true of subjectivity and objectivity, which intermingle in McCleary’s judiciously edited pictures of moments that seem calm, cool, and collected, yet are charged with a kind of quietly electrifying energy, their silence—and stillness—making time and space for self-reflection, and, if it suits you, self-transformation. Paired, Hayward’s and McCleary’s paintings make it easy to see that there’s more to reality than immediately meets the eye. Sometimes, standing still—and looking closely—takes you places you never imagined.

- David Pagel Art Critic

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“Hayward’s paintings have the hypnotic grace of the surface of the sea. They carve out a physical space of contemplation from which these grogeous paintings feel vast, unfathomable and in perpetual flux.” - Frances Colpitt

Author, Critic & Professor

Abstract #229, 2015 oil on canvas on wood panel 17” x 15”

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Abstract #235, 2015 oil on canvas on wood panel 15” x 14”

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Abstract #147, 2008 oil on canvas on wood panel 24” x 21”

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Abstract #139, 2007 oil on canvas on wood panel 58” x 48”

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“In a way, it’s more like music than Abstract Expressionism. It’s like free-form jazz or something.” - James Hayward

Abstract Diptych #41, 2016 oil on canvas on wood panels 17” x 27”

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Abstract Diptych #47, 2017 oil on canvas on wood panels 33” x 44”

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Abstract Diptych #22, 2013 oil on canvas on wood panels 15” x 22”

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“In our image-saturated environment, where pictures daily flood the zone, McCleary endows small acts of everyday perception with hushed reverence.”

-Christopher Knight

Author & Critic

The Rehearsal, 2019 oil on board 38.5” x 51”

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The Hostess, 2019 oil on board 41” x 33”

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The Visit, 2019 oil on board 38” x 51”

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The Conference, 2019 oil on board 51” x 56”

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“The people I paint are always people I have respect for. I have to have some sort of connection to them...” -Dan McCleary

Grace, Study for The Visit, 2019 oil on board 16” x 12”

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Wilber, Study for The Rehearsal, 2019 oil on board 14” x 11”

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Selected Collections James Hayward Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Minneapolis, MN Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, 1983 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1993 Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, 1996

Dan McCleary California Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles, CA The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA Harvard Art Museum, Cambridge, MA Laguna Museum of Art, Laguna Beach, CA Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA

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W W W .T E L L U R I D E G A L L E R Y. C O M

Profile for Telluride Gallery of Fine Art

Outside of Time: James Hayward & Dan McCleary  

Exhibition Catalog Outside of Time with James Hayward and Dan McCleary

Outside of Time: James Hayward & Dan McCleary  

Exhibition Catalog Outside of Time with James Hayward and Dan McCleary

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