Statement

The natural part of our daily landscape often becomes invisible through familiarity. The Fields series evolved out of my desire to engage with this landscape. I was drawn to places where grasses and grass-like plants are a constant feature: suburban lawns, median strip plantings, weeds growing through sidewalks, fields of grain or hay. I have interpreted details of texture, form, and color found in grassy landscapes into the Fields series.

In these works, the mesmerizing repetition and deceptive monotony of fields are brought up onto the wall in three-dimensional relief. When I examine a field, light and currents of air reflect across the surface, and it slowly comes to life. I begin to see variations of hue and value. A field of grass is a sea of sameness that’s not really the same. It’s a place where many small similar units form a complex, greater whole.

Similarly, each Fields piece is a constructed of thousands of individual units—a large piece more than 10,000. Within this sameness there are varied elements: color, length, spacing, and gesture of the forms, which influence the energy of the piece. For me, the “field”—normally the background in a painting or other artwork—becomes the object. This shift of context is meant to coax the viewer out of ordinary patterns of seeing. From a distance, these pieces look like heavily textured surfaces. Upon closer examination, their depth and interacting systems become apparent. A mosaic-like base pulls the viewer into the interior.

The works are constructed of acrylic on paper, applied to a support. Archival paper is painted with acrylics on both sides. The paper is cut into pieces after it has been painted, and the pieces are individually adhered to a stretched linen canvas or panel using archival adhesive.

—Kathleen Hayes