Nathan Hayden

Pure Pretty Fever

February 27 – April 10, 2016
Artist Reception: Saturday, February 27, 2016, 3 – 6 p.m.

CB1 Gallery is pleased to announce Pure Pretty Fever, its first solo exhibition of artist Nathan Hayden, featuring recent paintings, ceramics and a site-specific wall drawing. The title Pure Pretty Fever lends itself to the sweet pastel colors and his optimistic visions of utopian oasis and wild desert homesteads as well as the ecstatic nature of a vision’s production, like hallucinations in a fever dream. The exhibition opens on February 27 and continues through April 9, 2016; an opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 27, from 3:00 until 6:00pm.

Nathan Hayden (b. 1977) dances each day to induce visions that he draws on small pieces of thick torn paper referred to as “the cards”. The shapes and geometric patterns he derives from inner and outer landscapes bounce between abstraction and figurative representation, resulting in drawings that explore personal mythologies and hallucinations. On the backs of the cards he writes poetry by gathering bits of imagined or overheard text that have great rhythm or elicit multiple meanings. It is out of these cards that Hayden develops his large-scale works.

Hayden’s latest series of paintings for Pure Pretty Fever depicts hallucinatory landscapes. Embedding ink and homemade earth pigment emulsions into the fuzzy surface of industrial wool felt, the earth pigments bond to the wool fibers absorbing light and reflecting it in all directions, lending the landscapes a soft glow. Employing a lexicon of lines, symbols and geometric patterns Hayden creates compositions that are symbolic and psychedelic. 

Toward the center of the gallery a series of clay sculptures stands on pedestals like figures or buildings. The warm purple-pink tone of exposed earthenware imbues them with a fleshy quality, while their roughness evokes that of adobe houses. In proximity to the paintings they appear to exist within the landscapes.

Both Hayden’s paintings and sculptures play with principles of two and three-dimensional space. In the paintings, Hayden uses flat shapes such as triangles to reference three-dimensional shapes such as mountains. The interplay of two and three-dimensional space is further explored in the way Hayden combines flat patterns to represent fore, middle and backgrounds. The sculptures continue this interplay of two and three-dimensional space. Hand sculpted into four vertical flat shapes they symmetrically converge at a central point. This allows them to be seen as three dimensional objects that when viewed from certain vantage points flatten like a silhouette or a shadow. 

For Pure Pretty Fever Hayden will install a large-scale wall drawing echoing a motif that occurs in his works. Made with black ink applied with a brush directly to the wall Hayden continues his exploration of flat pattern and the materiality of the ink.

Hayden spent the first eight years of his life in the woods in rural West Virginia, living with his family in a log cabin built by his father with no running water or electricity. Here began his fascination with the geometry of local flora and fauna and his early exploration of drawing. He received his MFA from University of California, Santa Barbara, his BFA from Miami University and he currently lives and works in Santa Barbara, CA.

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