Miami, FL – Art Bastion is pleased to present Vacationland, a solo exhibition of new work by American artist Jen Wink Hays. Her first exhibition with the gallery is comprised of paintings on canvas and paper as well as 3-dimensional objects. Vacationland is a reference to the Maine state motto—an homage to Hays original stomping ground and the landscape that shaped her unique vantage point.
At first glance, Hays’ work appears to be an investigation of physical contours, topographies and spatial relationships across a variety of mediums. Her dynamic oil paintings are at times reminiscent of the view out of the airplane window with their distinct bloated masses of color and texture peacefully butting up against each other. Other works appear to be more rooted in ground-level observations -- clusters of form and color appear to be abstracted flora and fauna.
In actuality, the landscape being explored is far less tangible and tidy. Hays intentionally immerses herself in a process that requires her to respond intuitively as the work unfolds and puts her in a simple, elemental collaboration with materials. Says Hays, “my method of working repeatedly puts me in the position of deciding what to obscure or refine and what to leave raw and untouched. I am working on a completely abstract, intuitive level. I think this is what excites me most; inhabiting the work as it unfolds and reacting to each thing that arises.”
Hays work is energized by her use of a bold, dissonant color palette that blends subdued earthy tones with aggressive, synthetic neons. Incomplete visual layers also convey struggle and resolution in Hays’ work. There is a push/pull between what is shown and what is concealed as if something is at once being covered over and peeled away. Says the artist, “I’m interested in ‘the glimpse’ and the way that partially obscuring something or keeping it hidden can give it more power. I am also drawn to the way this sets up a truly dynamic, unpredictable visual field where unintentional collisions of color and form can take place.”
Hays’ works on paper are more tightly controlled and explore relationships and groupings within a confined space. The repetitive, organized visual language of these works serve as a meditative counterpoint to the lush, unbridled physicality of her oil paintings and yet exist on their own as a distinct and powerful exploration of fluctuation and interrelatedness. The contrasting stylistic manifestations of Hays works give a fuller articulation of the artistic vision that inspires them.
Hays was born in Bath, Maine and now lives and works in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and kids. She studied studio art and art history at Barnard College in New York City. Hays has shown her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions including “Almanac” in 2016 and “Fathom” in 2014 (both with Uprise Art in New York City) as well as in a variety of international art fairs including Market, Art + Design and the Affordable Art Fair. In addition to her fine arts practice, Jen Wink Hays is a co-founder of the Blue School in lower Manhattan.
JEN WINK HAYS / VACATIONLAND is on view at Art Bastion from April 22 – May 27, 2017, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 22 from 6:00-9:00 pm. For more information please contact: