A German friend of mine once wrote to me, “Berlin is the capital of Germany, but if you stand on a terrace and look over the city , all you see is trees!” It is a beautiful picture of the urban and natural environment working together to make a rich landscape. The opposite setting exists in New York City. City officials (and art aficionados) strive to re-instate the presence of the natural in our overly-paved grid lock. Looking at a subway map, it is almost comical to view the man-made square of central park at the center of this urban jungle. The work of Paula Hayes somewhat literally ‘encapsulates’ the idea of a “natural industrial setting”.
Egg, 2010, 13’1″ x 3’5″ x 3’2″. Photo Béatrice de Géa
Slug 01, 2010, 2’8″ x 14′ 11″ x 2′. Photo Béatrice de Géa
Hayes is a transplanted new yorker who uses her work to discuss nature’s need to be nurtured in the urban world. Using materials such a aluminum, cast acrylic, and spectrum lighting, she constructs ‘industrial’ cradles for various plants. What is remarkable is that Hayes utilizes materials that have been around since the late 1800s. Only in the modern age have they become known for their destructive influence, rather then their helpful one. Hayes shows that, once again, industrialization can be reconciled to the natural world. Each work, while unique, effectively symbolizes a need for environmental stewardship.
Series: Bird Baths, Acrylic Bird Bath in Thearian Green, 2012 30.5 x 18 x 24″. Photo Sherry Griffin
Living Necklace, Photo Eva Heyd
Currently, Paula Hayes has a public art installation (entitled “Gazing Globes”) in the lower west side of Manhattan, discussing the decomposition of the electronic age. While it is a slightly different topic to what she usually focuses on, the framework of ‘industrial cradles’ is still evident in this work.
Series: Gazing Globes 2015, GG17, 2014-15, Globe dimensions: 18” x 18” x 18”. Acrylic disc: 26” x 26” x 3/4”. Photo Adirondack Studios
Images source: http://www.paulahayes.com/