Mary Hayes

Artist Biography:

Originally from Bristol, Mary now lives in Nottingham, UK. She was a teacher for many years but always made art in her spare time. She studied painting in France with Francis Pratt, and etching with Robert Tilliard in Wiltshire. Wanting to develop her understanding, she completed a part-time Contemporary Fine Art Degree at Nottingham University. The degree took five years and one term to complete. It included drawing, painting, print, digital media, sculpture and photography. There were contextual, theoretical and professional studies alongside studio-based learning. The approach of critical enquiry, dialogue and reflection was used throughout. Her final degree exhibition used lighting as a medium, which is the purest form of colour. The interplay of colour and light informs all her work in paint print or lighting. Since graduating she has collaborated with a group of artists (Cover-Uncover Art Collective) to critique, exhibit, and curate work for exhibitions. In She’d one, she realised that her work has always responded to fleeting moments, the transience of life.She has exhibited in Nottingham, Leicester, Hinkley and Northern Ireland UK, and Germany, France and Greece. She is a member of Leicester Print Workshop, Cover-Uncover Artist Collective, Rufford Art Society and a-n.

Artist Statement:

Mary is captivated by movement related to light and colour. Sunlight sparkling on the surface of water, or reflections that dissolve when wildlife move nearby. Shadows moving and changing according to wind or the time of day, or a kingfisher or dragonfly flashing colour in its flight. All these experiences are fleeting – perhaps never to be repeated exactly. The brevity of fleeting moments is dependent on time and those moments are forms of energy. Existence is an act of energy yet humans are depleting much of the planet’s energy. Transient experiences are a reminder of the fragility of all life on the planet. As Mary’s interest is colour through light with reflections and distortions, photography helps her to notice and highlight layers and distortions. Mary often uses photographs to inspire work. She has learned the principles of most types of printing, which is a process that enables accidents to influence the work, creating spontaneity or chance occurrences that reflect the transience of the subject matter. She also likes to look for different objects in the pursuit of original marks. Mary recently learned about printing disperse dyes on fabric. This method produces stunningly bright colours. Drawing and painting are important parts of her practice, layering the two with monoprint or collage. During the first Lockdown, she had a growing awareness of the nature of ephemerality – her tulips dying, the growing numbers of daily deaths due to Covid19, writing several letters to people whose parents had died, her avoidance of writing a will, not to mention her great clearout at home, which made her make decisions about things from her past that had emotional meaning. She’d One enabled her to realise that a lot of her previous work was about ephemerality. Much of that work was of the ‘Wabi sabi’ type – a slow process of decay that happens over time, such as her work about stains, or pigments, or the corrosion of metal. However the work did not look ephemeral although some materials were impermanent. Other work such as the use of moving lights was more elusive in nature, so her future work will more closely consider the use of materials that are fragile, in order to show a relationship between material and concept. Her work is influenced by the work of Tacita Dean, who makes us take time to look at simple, often transient, events. Mary has also spent a lot of time in Cornwall where the brilliant colours of the landscape were captured by Patrick Heron and Terry Frost, and literally seen through the works of Barbara Hepworth. Influential painters that captured aspects of humanity are Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida and John Singer Sargent. William Kentridge is also inspiring due to his print work on pollution and his moving images.

Artist Work

Hayes Ephemerality, Photograph
Hayes Sand, Photograph
Hayes Single Leaf, Photograph