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JODI HAYS

Where are you from originally and where do you live now?

I am from Hot Springs, Arkansas. I moved to the Nashville from Boston (read: Red Sox fan), where I lived after going to University of Tennessee for undergraduate school and earning an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Art.

Could you describe the Nashville scene for those of us who are unfamiliar?

The Nashville art “scene” is supportive, increasingly critical and full of artists, thinkers and curators who are relevant and engaged in major art “centers” like New York and L.A. It’s a great place to live and sustain a creative life, which has attracted creative people for decades, but has really changed for the better in the past 5 years for the visual kind, with affordable studios and rents for artist-run spaces, among other things.

Image by Sharon Butler

What are "Super Scraps"? How much of the paintings are culled from actual physical spaces?

Thanks for asking this question, I think it comes up a lot, but this is a great way to get at it. Super (dense) scraps (toss-offs) are influences that come from images (sight), spaces (body) and text (language) we process. Interior textiles, exterior structures, toddler conversations, janky concrete slabs-- are all deposited as a unified visual mass. I love the work of painters like T. Nozkowski, R. de Keyser, L. Dodd, Hamlett Dobbins, Jared Sprecher--painters who have adopted to paint a “collection of knowns” (my phrase), still within the bounds of a painterly history and rarely drawing exact lines between abstraction and representation.

Related to above and Lois Dodd, this John Yau interview I just discovered.

In Marc Auge’s book, the Non-Place, an Introduction to Anthropology of Super Modernity he writes about “non-places” and the architecture of “nowhere”, which I like to compare to a contemporary moment, in which we feel an over-abundance of events (technology), leading to an extended non-event. I like the potential to create associative works between digital (data) collage aesthetic and site/architecture and actual (felt environment) through paint.

Super scraps reference “real” places as specific as my laundry room, our local hot chicken “war”, crumbling church buildings, my back porch, residential construction site, flatbed trucks...I like Johnny Cash’s explanation of his work best: “I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God.”

Image by Sharon Butler

You state that the paintings in "Super Scraps" are "remnants from our super-modern state of information overload." Does this pertain to data and technology or is it more about the environmental?

Both, really. Our felt, physical environment is increasingly influenced by the our information culture through mapping, etc. Usually parallel to titles, my work is a composite of influences, from the history of painting, to podcast soundbites, to what I see on a road trip or walks, to the color of a Play Doh container. Influences and ideas are often disparate yet not unintentional. To quote Sharon Butler (who was a delight when she came to my studio, “Real-life imperfection and confusion” is embraced within the painting’s scope. It is not unusual to want to “slow down” life/data through painting. Instead of a passing-by, there is an accounting of events and spaces within the making a work: painting as souvenir penny.

You reference architecture and landscape as important interests and influences in your work. What kinds of architecture and landscapes are you most interested in?

I am drawn to the grid as a formal consideration and architecture’s seaming of grid to landscape. I like that painting is an investment within limits and constraints, in the same way that architecture bends and works within a grid. I like landscape and architectural references for their connections to lived space, and possibility for metaphors to painting and surface. In the past I have been drawn to stark, forgotten, spare, liminal spaces. Although I think of architecture experientially (a la Bachelard) in more recent work I am drawn to more specific sites or buildings (some iconic, like the TWA terminal at JFK and some Rural Studio works) and potential for these elements to exist in a painting.

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 LINKS

Jodi's website and CV.