Unfamiliar Territory, a major exhibit by Seattle artist Randy Hayes, includes pieces from the last fifteen years of his career. Hayes is known for hybrid combinations of painting and photography. His subjects are derived mostly from his travels to China, India, Italy, Mexico, and more recently, Japan.
From a myriad of images, Hayes constructs unique photographic assemblages that serve as grounds for over-painting. The grid-like arrangements of snapshots are reminiscent of frames from a film and provide a narrative backdrop for the main painted subject. The effect of oil painting with translucent glazes and washes on top of the detail-filled backgrounds keeps the eye moving throughout the composition, absorbing the intricate milieu of Hayess world.
The Mississippi native is particularly interested in the changing face of his home state and of the rural American South. Ethereal images of this area, on the cusp of documentary and poetry, are some of the most provocative of Hayess artworks. The mix of micro- and macro-perspectives presents a feeling of direct experience with strong impressions of real time, memory and place. The artists southern upbringing undoubtedly lends to the deeper sensitivity in these particular pieces.