Artist Mary Hayes creates eerie partial abstracts that delve into the history and implications of portraiture. Recently, Mary has been using her practice to explore paintings by the old masters, combining these aesthetics with pop culture elements.
I really enjoy the works in Mary’s recent series The End of the World. The two parts (thus far) of the series focus on tangibly different themes related to “the end of the world,” but the cohesiveness of the concepts and the artist’s style help to tie the works together under one umbrella. In Part I, magical and pseudo-religious imagery suggests that the “end” in question may be more esoteric in nature, while deliberately unflattering portraits of politicians in Part II serve to ground the threat in terrifying reality.
Hayes’ painting seem to come alive in her Personages Réinventées series – I really appreciate the deep purple and blue hues that comprise the backgrounds in many of these works. Figures in period dress float in deep shadows, seemingly detached from historical context and made all the more dramatic and striking for it.