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Sing Out Loud Georgia Hayes


Georgia Hayes

Sing Out Loud

Paintings 2008-12

Sing Out Loud

12 Jan – 3 Feb 2013 Preview: Friday 11 January

Transition Gallery

Unit 25a Regent Studios 8 Andrews Road

Georgia Hayes

London E8 4QN www.transitiongallery.co.uk

Introduction by Cathy Lomax Essay by Barry Schwabsky

Published and designed by Pynto 2012 Pynto 6 Higher Street Hatherleigh Devon EX20 3JD www.pynto.com

Copyright © Georgia Hayes 2012 ISBN: 978-0-9542315-3-8 Printed by Imprint Digital, Upton Pyne, Exeter, Devon, EX5 5HY

opposite: Café Dogs crayon on paper 2011, 21x29.5cm


To Paint Is To Be Georgia Hayes has a room with a view. Her rural Sussex house looks out over rolling green English countryside dotted with deer and horses. In the foreground of this picture book scene is a hotchpotch of bird feeders alive with the noisy comings and goings of woodpeckers, nuthatches, blue tits and the occasional unwanted squirrel who is shooed away with a blast from a water pistol. Birds and animals also wander into Hayes’ paintings, flattened and displayed against a candy box of colours for our viewing pleasure. The zing of the joyfully clashing colours distance the viewer from reality and counterintuitively the atmosphere of the work becomes darker. Visiting Diamonds shows a seated shirtless man in front of a blonde pin-up girl in a hot pink swimsuit and matching high heels against a lemon yellow background. On his lap sits a cat, next to his chair birds flit around a cage on a wooden pole. It’s unclear if the man is watching the pin-up or the birds. It’s an intriguing image – watching, displaying, captured – who is there for whose pleasure? Hayes’ first solo show at Transition centres on an inquisitive dialectic of viewing. In her painted museums, safaris and operas the lookers are often as important as the looked at. Her reduced graphic style gets straight to the point of the imagery, which leaves us, the distanciated looker, to ponder over the connections. This imaginative joining-up-the-dots of seeing is a counterpoint to the Sing Out Loud of the exhibition’s title. Hayes’ singing is the opposite of an acousmatic experience where a sound is heard without seeing the causes behind it. Her opera singers open their mouths – but we never hear their voices. David Rothenberg, professor of Philosophy and Music at New Jersey Institute for Technology and author of Why Birds Sing, believes that birdsong is not simply a way of attracting a mate or establishing a territory but is also an expression of pure pleasure. Georgia Hayes says enigmatically that ‘painting might be to us as birdsong is to birds’, an uneasy mix of the necessary and the exuberant. The bird in Hayes’ painting Birdcatcher is cupped in the hands of a moustached man, its beak parted as it noiselessly sings. Is it about to be placed in the cage that he carries on his back or is he setting it free? These dichotomies are inherent in Hayes’ complex language of attract and repel where bright and dark, wanting to and having to, and looking and being looked at all coexist in an uneasy harmony. Cathy Lomax

Black dog / Yellow suit watercolour and pencil on paper 2011, 29.5x21cm


Georgia Hayes’s Art Barry Schwabsky

Though she otherwise has little in common with the quondam yBa boy wonders, Hayes is one of the other very few artists I can think of whose work has preserved or attained this same fresh and spontaneous vitality that might, at

Georgia Hayes is not an outsider artist – in the sense of one who is untrained, even uncultured – though she may seem to paint like one. That should be surprising. It is to me, anyway, because while a great many painters of consummate culture have been both delighted and influenced by the works of untrained artists, as they have been by the art of children, of the insane, and so on, the work of the self-conscious artist can hardly pass for the handiwork of the naïf. This is true of Jean Dubuffet, of Asger Jorn, of Philip Guston, and it’s true of just about any other such artist you can name. Sophistication will out. Once having attained (and to some degree overcome) self-consciousness, how can a person regain unself-consciousness? Innocence doesn’t follow experience. And yet there are occasional, very rare exceptions to this rule. One of the most striking of these exceptions, to me, came in the form of an exhibition by, of all people, the Chapman brothers, who five years ago exhibited a group of sculptures inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm, works cobbled together out of cardboard and daubed with poster paint and which for the life of me really did look as wonky and energetic and unpredictably right as the things my eight-year-old daughter was making around the same time – which is a rare complement from me to a pair of artists whose work usually doesn’t appeal to me. Of course the Chapmans aren’t little kids, and their work is full of grown-up ideas, which is why it seemed such a wonder that they could wrap up their smarts in such naturally childish-looking objects.

first glance, be mistaken for aesthetic ingenuousness. Maybe this can be partly accounted for by the fact that she put off the formal study of painting until she was in her thirties; I can imagine that by this time some essential aesthetic propensities were already formed and rooted and remained more or less unaffected by her training. The marks Hayes makes – and when looking at her paintings it is impossible not to think as much about the marks out of which they are built as one thinks about the imagery they convey – are never showy, never beautified, and they never seem calculated. Strangely, one gets the feeling that they were put down entirely on a haptic basis, that is, placed here instead of there, this way instead of that way, entirely on the basis of how they felt rather than on how they look. And the paradox is that this is why they look so right. Somehow there’s no Super-Ego looking over the artist’s shoulder telling her it should conform to some preconceived reality. Each mark is its own reality, and that’s it. Or at least that’s it when the painting is going right. In an interview with the alternative art magazine The Rebel, Hayes had this to say about her process: “When I feel in control I end up feeling bad as the painting comes out looking crafty and boring. It’s not easy to give up control.” Relinquishing control, in the sense of ignoring the Super-Ego over the shoulder, is the craft, is the process, and for us viewers it’s good to be reminded this relinquishment is hard-won.


Lately, Hayes seems to be painting her way into ideas about looking at things

Things seem separate and self-contained, both coloristically and in facture. Hayes

and maybe not looking at things. Their settings – funny how a flat colored square

evinces little concern for transition or atmosphere. Suavity is nothing. And yet

can be a setting, a place, isn’t it? – are often museums. In these museums, structures

everything comes together. The paintings feel completely observed from life and

for looking at things, we see things and we see people but the people don’t actually

completely invented by a free imagination all at once.

seem to be looking at the things. They’re just in that space together. Sometimes one suspects the museum must be a zoo; since when do they keep crocodiles in museums? But lands that have crocodiles are another country, they do things differently there. Display cases form jerrybuilt geometries that just might be Hayes’s answer, wryly charmed rather than melodramatically charged, to the glass booths behind which Bacon’s Popes used to sit, screaming. And what about that film star in the museum? Is she there to look or be looked at? Fact is, the things on display in Hayes’s museums

Since in the beginning I raised the issue of artistic “outsiders,” I should say one last thing about it, namely that one can be outsided, as it were, simply by careless disregard. In Hayes’s case, as in more than a few others, it seems that insufficient attention has been paid and that this perhaps places her outside certain conventional categories for reasons entirely external to the work itself. Once when asked about Willem de Kooning’s observation, “I make pictures and someone comes

seem as alive and lively as the people, and the people are as detached as the things.

in and calls it art” – for him, presumably, a thought intended as protection in the

Look at those Canopic jars, that statue of Anubis – they need no audience, and for

studio from being prematurely burdened with the demands that come along with

that matter Anubis seems downright irritated to have one.

the term “art” – Hayes simply demurred with the remark, “Sometimes I know it’s art

Are these paintings irritated at being ogled, like Anubis, or do they enjoy being looked at? I rather think they do. They seem to coolly settle into themselves under my gaze. It’s a pleasure to see the relaxed way each element has come to rest on its spot within the monochrome square it shares with various others, but it’s also strange and surprising because each of those elements – I use that imprecise word because I still want to avoid committing myself to talking about either the imagery or the marks that make up the imagery, since I want what I’m about to say to apply equally to both – has been set down on the square in such a rough and unaccommodating way.

but nobody comes in and says anything.” That lack of response is an experience that many artists, but women in particular, have known too well. I would therefore like to state categorically that I, at least, also think I know art when I see it and that Hayes has got it in spades.


Leo T oil on canvas 2012, 183x183cm


BirdCatcher oil on canvas 2012, 100x100cm


Meditating with a dog oil on canvas 2012, 50x50cm

Beanie and phoebe oil on canvas 2012, 100x100cm


SINGING TOGETHER oil on canvas 2012, 183x183cm


Box of jars oil on canvas 2010, 50x50cm

anubis in cairo oil on canvas 2010, 50x50cm


walking in the rainforest with a sloth oil on canvas 2012, 183x214cm


Picking fruit off an italian plate oil on canvas 2012, 100x100cm

Zebras together oil on canvas 2008, 50x50cm


visiting diamonds oil on canvas 2011/12, 183x214cm


In the museum with crocodiles oil on canvas 2010, 50x50cm

Between Stairs (mobo and sweetie) oil on canvas 2012, 183x183cm


Learning in the museum oil on canvas 2011, 183x183cm


Dancing to cajun oil on canvas 2011, 100x100cm

essex bridesmaids oil on canvas 2009, 183x214cm


Swimming in okehampton oil on canvas 2009, 183x183cm


Fishing in the museum oil on canvas 2008, 183x214cm


meeting in egypt oil on canvas 2011, 90x90cm drawing: pencil on paper 2010, 19.5x18.5cm


Empire in the BM pencil on paper 2008, 25x24cm

End of Empire Three pencil on paper 2008, 25x24cm

End of Empire in the British Museum oil on canvas 2008, 183x183cm


End of Empire pencil on paper 2008, 30x21cm

Punch and Judy in the Museum oil on canvas 2011, 100x100cm


Museum Dog and Star watercolour, crayon and collage on paper 2011, 24x32.5cm

top: Stars & Dogs watercolour and crayon on paper 2011, 30.5x29.5cm bottom right: Ape God and Film Star watercolour and crayon on paper 2011, 28.5x30cm bottom left: Anubis in Cairo crayon, watercolour and pencil on paper 2011, 28.5x30cm


Boxer Kicking Boxer oil crayon on paper 2012, 32.5x24cm


Georgia Hayes www.georgiahayes.com Solo Exhibitions 2013: ‘Sing Out Loud’, Transition. London 2008: HQ Gallery, Lewes, E Sussex 2006: Galeria National, Costa Rica 2003: Frederick Spratt Gallery, San Jose, USA 2003: Café Gallery Projects, Southwark Park, London 2002: S. Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists’ Gallery, USA; Aberdeen Art Gallery 1999: Maidstone Library Gallery l998: Sevenoaks Library Gallery 1997: Harriet Green Gallery, London 1995: Riviera Gallery, Hastings 1988: Trinity Arts Centre, Tunbridge Wells Selected Group Exhibitions

Squaring Up oil crayon on paper 2012, 32.5x24cm

2012: Discerning Eye, London 2011: ‘Wild Thing’, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Wales; ‘Face To Face’ Galerie d’Ys’ Brussels. 2010: ‘Text-o-&-figura’, (travelling International drawing show); RA Summer exhibtion, London 2009: ‘Bad Animals’, Transition, London; Turner Contemporary Open, Margate 2008: John Moores 25, Liverpool; RA Summer Exhibition, London 2007: 3 person, HQ Lewes, E Sussex; RA Summer Exhibition, London 2006: 2 person HQ, Lewes, E Sussex; RA Summer Exhibition, London 2005: RA Summer Exhibition, London 2004: Monoprints, National Gallery of Costa Rica; RA Summer Exhibition, London 2003: 25 years SFMOMA Artists, USA; SanJose ICA, Art Auction, USA; RA Summer Exhibition, London 2002: ‘3x2’, The Nunnery, London; International Drawing, National Gallery of Costa Rica; ‘As It Seems’, Drawing, Cheltenham Art Gallery/ Museum; RA Summer Exhibition, London

2001: Art First, London; Vital Arts, Royal London Hospital; RA Summer Exhibition, London 2000: RA Summer Exhibition, London 1999: Xtreme Art, Hitchin; RA Summer Exhibition, London 1998: ‘Means and Ends’, Open Drawing, Brighton; RA Summer Exhibition, London 1997: Cheltenham Open Drawing (touring) 1996: ‘Journeys/Memories’, Brighton Museum; CheltenhamOpenDrawing; Inspirit, Maidstone Museum; RA Summer Exhibition, London 1995: ‘Inspirit’, Maidstone 1994:  ‘SpaceFrameOpen’, Gillingham; FlowersEast, London; Harlech 94 International; RA Summer Exhibition,London 1993: John Moores 18, Liverpool; Oriel Mostyn Open, Llandudno 1992: East/South Open Norwich 1991: ‘David Bomberg and After’, Towner Gallery, Eastbourne 1990: Oxford County Museum; RA Summer Exhibition, London 1987: Scottish drawing competition, Glasgow; RA Summer Exhibition, London 1985: Folkestone Metropole Open 1984:  Trinity Arts Centre, Tunbridge Wells (Drawings, 2 person) Awards British Council Travel Award (2006); Shortlisted for the Charles Wollaston Prize (2006, 2003 & 2000); British Council Award (2003); Arts Council Major Personal Development Award (2003); South East Arts Personal Development Award (2002) Collections National Gallery Costa Rica; Contemporary Art Museum, Costa Rica; New Hall Art Collection, Cambridge


www.georgiahayes.com

Sing Out Loud  

Georgia Hayes – Paintings

Sing Out Loud  

Georgia Hayes – Paintings

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