Alex Hay: New Paintings
17 May - 27 July 2007
Peter Freeman Inc. is pleased to present Alex Hay: New Paintings, Hay's first exhibition of new work in 38 years. It is also his second solo exhibition with the gallery: Work from the 60s was shown in 2002.
In the 1960s, Alex Hay made a small body of Pop paintings, drawings, and sculpture based on everyday objects, surprisingly out of scale; meticulously rendered "portraits" of what is usually overlooked. Remarkable for their assured presence and formal originality, these works were absolutely a part of their time, shown at Castelli and Kornblee Gallery, and appearing in both the first important survey of Pop Art (in 1968 at Hayward Gallery, London), and in the first standard books on the subject (Lucy Lippard's 1966 Pop Art, and John Russell and Suzi Gablik's 1969 Pop Art Redefined).
Hay followed an increasingly conceptual path in his work, and in the late 60s the conceptually-based methods used to make the Pop images overcame any need for imagery. Logical systems found their own visual expression and works with "no" image replaced the Pop "images." Eventually, much like Allan Kaprow, Hay found that even to make the art "object" was not necessary to his practice, and since the early 70s the work quite disappeared from public view, just as his practice largely dispensed with anything that could be exhibited.
Only in 2002 did Hay again make paintings, a new body of works depicting detailed renderings of wood scraps, the ends and bits usually discarded. The first two of these paintings were shown in 2004 at the Whitney Biennial. As in his earlier work, these paintings are informed by Hay's interest in the nearly invisible everyday object. However, as Christian Rattemeyer wrote in the Biennial catalogue, these new pieces are "infused with a more conceptual approach to his subject matter. Functioning purely as abstract surfaces, these works take the painterly potential further without surrendering the investment in the mundane, recognizable, and seemingly banal."
Hay's work has been included in recent groups exhibition: Whitney Biennial (2004), The Painted World at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (2005), Granat, Alex Hay, Chuck Nanney, Peter Young, Galerie Les Fille du Calvaire, Brussels and Paris (2005), 9 Evenings Reconsidered: Art, Theatre, and Engineering, 1966 at MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge (2006) and Nothing and Everything at Peter Freeman, Inc. New York and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco (2006-2007)