I am the sun
Gregory Hayes


Opening Thursday, November 17th 2016, 6 pm

Until February 25th 2017

“If we think of ourselves as different from the world around us — or rather separate from the order of things — we have forgotten the vastness that we are all a part of. Each piece of who and what we are matters and makes up the larger whole of the space and reality we are in. What we are is everything. And everything is in us. Just as I am my own breath I am the sun.”


Francesca Antonini Arte Contemporanea is glad to present I am the sun., the first European solo show of Gregory Hayes (Buffalo, U.S.A., 1980), that marks the end of his three-months residency in Rome.

Hayes’s artistic practice focuses on the investigation of the countless creative possibilities and limits of painting: his objective is to heighten the viewer's sensitivity to subtle variations and to reveal that pictorial complexity can be achieved through a restricted vocabulary, such as limited color choices and repetition.

In a post-media era, Hayes develops a research on the foundations of one of the most traditional languages, after having metabolized the legacy of American Abstract Expressionism — from Jackson Pollock’s instinctive yet measured gestures to Agnes Martin’s meticulous geometric compositions — and having combined it with his personal poetic vision. His practice stems from the procedural and organic components of painting, as well as from the analysis and synthesis of the several elements that make up its syntax. The amount of color and its relation to the surface let sophisticated patterns appear; once delivered to the observer as optical structures, they provide psychic, cultural and emotional solicitations, and prove to be the final aim of painting.

I am the sun. is an important milestone in the career of Hayes, who here presents a group of new works produced during his stay in Italy, where he had the chance to work on the large format and expand the experimentation on the “Color Array” and “Amalgamation” series. In the first he intervenes on a predetermined geometric grid, hand-drawn, laying down acrylic drips according to a process of minimal and methodical reduction. In the second he proceeds instead by tracing random trajectories and accumulating layers of color until the whole canvas is covered.

The technique the artist perfected over time ensures that every single drip encloses a variable range of tones and moves on the surface of canvas or paper unpredictably, out of his control. It is therefore in striving for accuracy in the composition — and never reaching it — that Hayes actually finds perfection. With a slightly different quality. Control and chance collide in a sort of refined intuition and imperfection becomes unique, flaws become interesting, randomness leads to new ideas, the “happy fault” introduces unexpected perspectives. 

The exhibition is part of the "Fuori Quadriennale" program, on the occasion of the 16th edition of the Quadriennale d'arte of Rome.