Paintings by Australian painter Cameron Hayes will be presented in a solo show at the Feldman Gallery in Soho. Hayes employs the fantastic and the absurd to the brutality and misguidedness of our era.
“What happens when pretend politicians pretend to be terrorists reports the deleterious effect on Muslim girls after local politicians use “dirty tricks” to scapegoat Muslims in order to gain votes. In a brightly-colored passage, young girls, now afraid to wear scarves, search for their identities in school lockers. Turned flat, the lockers could also be traps. With the Kings of Werribee: only the poor have the luxury of being bored, Hayes chronicles a brutal hate crime committed by impoverished teen-agers who became known as ‘The Kings of Werribee’ and riffs on the definition of ‘king’ in today’s welfare state.
Inspired by his travels, Hayes uses the proliferation of rats in the Mumbai zoo as a symbol for the concealed misery of many tourist attractions in the brownish-red drenched painting The rats in the monkey’s cage. In The Olympic torch relay in Xinjiang Province,” Hayes takes no sides in a clash of two cultures: for the Chinese, the most effective protest is to have their torch relay ignored; when the bombs of the Muslim Uygurs do not kill, they use knives to finish the job.
Hayes invents a topsy-turvy reasoning to skewer current values of competitive zeal for greater wealth and status. Images of babies in diapers, men in suits, rickety skyscrapers, and chalk-outlined bodies in Orphanages make the best skyscrapers posit that children without parents, thus the most emotionally needy, are the group most motivated to climb the corporate ladder. The dark and smoky-like palette of The race to be the first celebrity: Jack the Ripper versus The Elephant Man evokes Dickens’ London as a vehicle to comment on 20th century celebrity worship.”
These and other paintings will be on view from April 2 – May 7 (Tuesdays through Saturdays) at the Feldman Gallery, 31 Mercer Street.