Winston-Salem artist casts out negative spaces in collages
As a Virginia native now living in Winston-Salem, Taylor Hayes’s unique collage work has been shown in two juried exhibitions and more than 25 group exhibitions/collaborations in the galleries and museums of Winston-Salem and Brooklyn, New York. Hayes just returned from Boston where she finished her MFA at Lesley University College of Art & Design. She was the first in her family to go to college, where one of her teachers encouraged her to pursue art.
It was in her previous work as marketing manager for Sawtooth School of Visual Art, and in curating the work of other artists and teaching that inspired her to go back to school to learn more. She received her Bachelor of Arts at Salem College in Winston-Salem in 2013 with a double major in arts management and not-for-profit management with a minor in studio art. Hayes said she fell in love with the management side of art when she first learned how to create exhibitions. She still teaches a few classes and workshops at Sawtooth and said the best part of teaching is “learning by listening” to others.
Hayes has also worked for Clark Whittington who created the Art-o-Mat concept that utilizes vending machines to dispense small pieces of art for $5. The hosts lease the machines and purchase the art, and the artists get to show and sell their work in many different venues. Now, Hayes’s Art-o-Mat art is available in restaurants, hotels, and various places all over the country. Hayes said her first stint in a gallery and the art exhibition she is most proud of was her first two-person show at Ember Art Gallery in Winston-Salem.
Hayes expressed her desire to make art accessible to everyone, especially to those who are not available to experience it. She grew up in a working-class family, only learning and creating art in the public school setting. She said she made collages by cutting up magazines and sketchbooks for school projects. One field trip, Hayes fondly remembered walking into an art museum for the first time. She realized how important it was to give access to some people who can’t go to museums due to costs, transportation, or time. She said her inspirations and mentors are Leigh Ann Hallberg of Wake Forest and Elizabeth Alexander of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Mark Bradford and Rachel Whiteread, whom she calls great artists, have also influenced her art. Bradford is from Los Angeles and known for his large paintings where he builds up layers and layers of found posters and sands through them. Whiteread is a conceptual artist that uses concrete and resin to cast the inside of buildings and objects.
“Instead of casting the content, she casts the context around the objects,” Hayes said.
To cast out negative space in her art, Hayes takes magazine pages and cuts out areas to looks like a stencil. Then, the piece comes together as an architectural structure made of white paper and gridded shapes. She “uses collage and décollage to represent visual cues of interiors, architectural passageways and empty spaces as defamiliarized structures.”
This technique can be seen in her piece “The Façade Degrades/ A[void] is Being Built,” which “illustrates the structure and political nature of public and privates spaces.”
To create the collages, she cuts images from architecture magazines and scans them into her iPad to alter them. Much in the same way she removes the content from magazine pages, it is in the negative spaces that the design takes form.
The final pieces are installed to hang about a foot away from the wall so that part of the design includes shadows, which offsets the art piece and takes on the look of a floor plan. Hayes said the pieces do not have backing, so viewers can peak around the back to see the other side of the magazine pages revealed. The front side remains white like a façade. Hayes plans to continue her work as part of her thesis with different types of collages. One part will be more collages of architectural spaces, and the other part will involve an installation using architectural magazines. She likes to use everyday-materials as opposed to going to an art store and buying art supplies. She is presently seeking galleries in which to show her work.
“Through my art, I question how architecture is designed for the wealthy and to keep others out,” Hayes said. “I also explore how we are conditioned to learn our place and navigate space in society.”
TERRY RADER is a freelance writer, poet, singer/songwriter, wellness herbalist, flower essences practitioner and owner of Paws n’ Peace o’ Mind cat/dog/house sitting.