Unfinished: The Sculpture of Hugh Hayden

May 22, 2018 David Behringer

Unfinished: The Sculpture of Hugh Hayden

New York-based sculptor Hugh Hayden is extremely careful not to remove the “branches” on his raw material – an act that results in an explosion of form and interpretations. His debut New York solo show is on view at White Columns this month and requires a close look… carefully.

Brier Patch, 2018 (detail)

Hugh Hayden was one of the break-out stars of the Frieze Art Fair early this month, where White Columns presented his picnic table sculpture created out of fallen Manhattan trees. And now through June 2nd, just a block south of the Whitney Museum, you can see two newer works that benefit from the larger space and fewer crowds.

Brier Patch, 2018

“Brier Patch” is composed of 6 school desks that appear inseparably interwoven by their own outgrowths. Hugh notes his intention to create “visible, unifying space that is at once protective and impenetrable”. His work is absolutely a mix of oppositions: drawing you near while blocking you out, recalling the joy of youth and fear of the present/future, nature vs man, life vs death – all open to diverse personal interpretations.

Brier Patch, 2018 (detail)

Brier Patch, 2018 (detail)

Brier Patch, 2018 (detail)

Brier Patch, 2018 (detail)

Brier Patch, 2018 (detail)

Hayden scavenges his materials –  a search that can’t be easy in New York City. An he’s not gluing his favorite branches to a finished chair, he needs to find wood that can serve both the carving and the aura. It’s one of the most unique collaborations for a sculptor and a fallen tree.

Hangers, 2018

The second work “Hangers” is a carving of a human skeleton, slightly larger than life, that hangs from a clothing rack on wheels. There is again an intriguing opposition: the “death” that hides within the thicket of branches, and the physical manifestation of life that radiates outward like electrical sparks.

Hangers, 2018 (detail)

Hangers, 2018 (detail)

Don’t miss this chance to see Hugh’s work in person, and we strongly recommend bringing a friend – everyone who steps in the room will see it differently and love it equally.

Hugh Hayden at White Columns, NYC

What: Hugh Hayden Sculpture
Where: White Columns, 91 Horatio Street, New York, NY
When: April 24 – June 2, 2018

Photos by the author David Behringer, courtesy of White Columns, NYC.

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