Finding a “Place” in nature

Place, an exhibit of oil paintings by Stephen Hayes opens Jan. 11 in Fairbanks Hall.

Stephen Hayes, Those Lives, That Light, 2008, Oil on canvas on panel, 60” x 120” diptych

Stephen Hayes, Those Lives, That Light, 2008, Oil on canvas on panel, 60” x 120” diptych

Hayes focuses on painting images of land, and made his first paintings outdoors in the face of nature more than 25 years ago. He works to fill his paintings with more than a simple depiction of a place, or of a particular light at a certain time of day.

“When I have succeeded in making paintings that resonate and take on a life of their own,” says the artist, “I have been able to meld an inner ‘weather’ with an outer vision. This work is sometimes unabashedly beautiful and imbued with emotion. I am convinced that there still is room in painting for beauty to play a key role, and for emotion to serve the painter positively.”

Hayes was born and raised in Washington D.C. where his earliest memory of an interest in art is of a drawing he made with silver crayons of John Glenn and his “Rocket Ship” in the 1960s He was about six.

Hayes, received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1980, having focused on drawing and specifically on drawing the human form. His studies took him as far as a full dissection of the cadaver via the University Medical School, culminating in a thesis on portraiture.

Immediately following graduate school, Hayes moved to the Middle East for nearly four years where he was overwhelmed by the awesome beauty of the Cypriot landscape. It was there that his interest in the land as a vehicle for expression of human condition began. His travels and work in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Bahrain and Cyprus planted a seed that is still bearing fruit in his work today.

Stephen Hayes, Caldera, 2008, Oil on canvas on panel, 60” x 120” diptych

Stephen Hayes, Caldera, 2008, Oil on canvas on panel, 60” x 120” diptych

In 1984 Hayes moved first back to Washington for a brief stint at the Phillips Collection as one of their Museum Assistants, and then within six months decided to go somewhere unknown. He headed west and settled in Portland, where he currently lives. He continues through his painting and print work, to translate, viscerally, the physical and emotional experience of places of nature.

In the roughly 20 years that Hayes has spent working and teaching in Portland he has participated in scores of exhibitions and produced dozens of one-man shows of his paintings, prints and drawings. His work is well represented in numerous private, public and corporate collections throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Japan and South America.

Fairbanks Gallery is open Monday–Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a reception for the artists, with a brief artist’s talk at noon Jan. 13. The gallery and reception are free and open to the public. Support for this exhibit has been provided by Art Work Fine Art Services. The exhibit concludes Feb. 3.

For more information: Douglas Russell 541-737-5009 or drussell@oregonstate.edu or visit http://oregonstate.edu/fairbanksgallery

~ Doug Russell

Stephen Hayes, The Bean Field, 2008, Oil on canvas on panel, 60” x 120” diptych

Stephen Hayes, The Bean Field, 2008, Oil on canvas on panel, 60” x 120” diptych

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