We are delighted to introduce this new and vibrant body of work by Alexandra Haynes in her first exhibition at Art First. Re-adopting an exhibiting life as someone who elicited much attention as a young artist starting out, Haynes now returns with the assurance of a long-continued studio practice away from the public eye.
The paintings make magpie borrowings wherever she is - be it the Caribbean, Australia or pottering around in Cornish rockpools. Colours are uncompromising and mesmerising and the spatial engagement consummately makes use of the liberties carved out by surrealist and expressionist forebears.
Anna McNay writes in her essay for the exhibition:
“Alexandra Haynes’ paintings speak of journeys. The organic, spiralling shells; the succulent cacti; the brightly coloured, tropical flowers, seaweed, fish and butterflies are all souvenirs of her travels. ……But it is her body of work as a whole that represents the greatest journey – a journey of self-discovery and of finding, developing and learning to enunciate her own pictorial language.
Haynes had a meteoric rise to success when, at the age of twenty-one, she was ‘spotted’ by Brian Sewell during her mid-term exhibition at Cheltenham School of Art in 1987 and selected as one of ten young painters for the summer show of students and graduates promoted annually by You Magazine and The Mail on Sunday. As a direct result of this, she was asked to accompany restaurateur Peter Langan to Los Angeles to produce a series of canvases for his intended – but sadly never to be opened – restaurant there. Cheltenham were reluctant to let her go before having completed her degree, but Haynes …… was determined, and her adamancy paid dividends when she was introduced to and befriended by David Hockney.
…..all of nature ultimately evolves out of simple geometric patterns incorporated within a molecular seed structure and Haynes’ work reflects this, aligning the beauty of each and juxtaposing eternity with temporality. For Haynes, the flora and fauna of her paintings are the vocabulary; the planes and lines the syntactic rules. Through her years of experimentation, rejecting and reviving certain compositions and combinations of colour and form, collecting motifs and expressive symbols along the way, she has created a distinctive personal language, one that is poetic, evocative, and lyrical.”
From ‘A Geometry of Freedom’
Anna McNay 2016