FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
contact: Carolyn Kramer, Founder and Gallery Director
JO HAY OPEN STUDIO GALLERY is pleased to present
large scale oil paintings by JO HAY
August 12 through August 21, 2016
June 2016, Provincetown, MA: JO HAY OPEN STUDIO GALLERY is pleased to present new oil paintings by Jo Hay. RABBIT HABIT showcases lupine portraits that capture the surprising quirks and personalities of rabbits through inventive brushwork and color. Visitors are invited to see this exhibition at 167 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA, from Friday, August 12, through Sunday, August 21, 2016. The exhibition will open with a reception on Friday, August 12, from 7–10PM.
British figurative painter Jo Hay is widely known for large-scale paintings that explore sexuality, gender, and identity, as in her self-portrait Dodger which placed as a semi-finalist in the 2015 BP Portrait Award. Hay is fascinated by human psychological and biological perception of gender, and her interest in subjects with both male and female characteristics was first inspired by the glittering androgyny of British glam rock musicians in the nineteen-seventies.
RABBIT HABIT marks a departure from these portraits; it showcases new works in
a series that Hay has continued to explore since graduate school at the New York Academy of Art. “I initially imagined the rabbit paintings would be purely experimental,” she says of her first examples painted in 2010, calling them a reaction to long hours studying traditional figurative painting. “I very quickly realized that they are equally relevant portraits in themselves.”
Hay calls the rabbits an exercise in finding new ways to construct figures without concern for likeness or gender. They help her to deal purely with form, space, and anatomy, and she closely considers each animal’s personality differences to make every painting unique. Rabbits also have powerful symbolic associations for Hay. “I see traits of the rabbit personality in my own, especially when making paintings. I relate to their alert, edgy energy and the constant vigilance required to always remain nimble enough to get in and out of fluctuating situations.”
Hay’s dynamic painting style incorporates a range of marks made with different sized brushes and tools, which lends a charged air of activity to her canvases. In her own words, “Presenting a full range of calligraphic difference in painting is like playing with a full orchestra. Imagine hearing a symphony played on a single violin!” The same can be said of her color choices, which are clean mixes. She only uses primary colors and white, maintaining firm control over relationships between hues. The result is an often unexpected meld of shades, as in her new triptych—Ziggy, Major Tom, and Blackstar—where black and brown rabbits are articulated in swatches of cerulean, moss, peach, persimmon, and slate. “Overall I am looking for a mixture of harmony and disharmony, the decorous and the vulgar, the predictable and the unpredictable, all to maintain strong visual interest for the viewer,” she says, noting recent inspirations in Philip Guston, Dana Schutz, and Jenny Saville.
The portraits in RABBIT HABIT pulse with life. “I have found when painting living creatures that there is an alchemical moment that occurs usually in the middle of the painting,” Hay muses. “It is no longer just a set of particular paint marks but instead the image suddenly feels alive to the point that I experience a quietly disarming sense of it taking a breath.”
Founded in 2014, the JO HAY OPEN STUDIO GALLERY is a contemporary art gallery located in Provincetown, MA. Carolyn Kramer, Founder and Gallery Director, with her life partner, painter Jo Hay, have a clear vision and bold new approach to the art scene in Provincetown. The gallery’s mission is to exhibit contemporary painting and conceptual art that challenges the viewer’s intellect and imagination.
JO HAY OPEN STUDIO GALLERY is located at 167 Commercial Street in Provincetown and is open seven days a week. For more information visit johayopenstudio.com or call 508.776.0503.