We were pleased to present the first solo exhibition by artist Rachel Hayes in the year 2002. "Sheer Suppression" presented an interconnected body of work using carefully considered, yet common materials in thoughtful ways and varied scales. We also presented new work by New Mexico artist Stephen Fleming in a show in our back gallery entitled "otherObjects".
Paraphrasing Hayes' writings about her work, she was most interested in material/texture, color, pattern, structure of material, structure of form, function, sexuality, fashion, and design. Her palette was, and still is, comprised of materials ranging from the seemingly mundane to the undoubtedly exquisite, with an emphasis on surface and color. To this end, she thrived on the hunt for new materials, then consisting largely of sheer fabrics and translucent plastics. Various techniques of layering the materials enhanced a sense of depth or introduced new colors. "It is like designing new fabrics. Each combination suggests or reminds me of different things." These interests led her to create work such as her influential room-sized vinyl and polyester striped wall and floor piece "Constant Chameleon" which was exhibited at the gallery in 2000.
Following "Constant Chameleon", she then considered the further question "what shape should this (work) take on?" So she created works, still using her fabric, that took on a shape. Round shapes, elongated shapes, stuffed "body bag" forms. With the work included in this exhibition, she further refined the relationship of the shapes to the patterns applied to them.
Why a title like "sheer suppression"? Short version - she discovered that sheer fabric and plastic "... both suppress color, by dilution, or by literally pressing it on the shape the fabric is stretched upon". The show was not completely about suppression though. It was also about movement. Movement appeared in shifts of pattern from vertical to horizontal stripes, or vice versa. "Not only are the stripes shifting and moving, but so is the dilution and exposure of color".