Stephen Hayes’ paintings come out of the tradition of nineteenth-century landscape painting. He captures the awe and wonder of the American landscape, but with a more contemporary approach. His palette is inspired by Impressionism, the bold brush strokes evoke gestural abstraction and expressionism, while the lyrical rhythms flow out of post-painterly abstraction. Hayes paints “en plein air” as well as from film stills in the studio, thus adding a very contemporary medium and approach to his repertoire. His picture making practice allows him to straddle representation and abstraction. By not relying solely on a near-photographic realist representation of the landscape, he can go with his intuition and knowledge of the landscape—his experience in and of the landscape—to guide a certain spontaneity and interpretation. As such, his paintings capture more than a single moment in time or particular view. They read more as a layered montage of different points in time, with the sun and clouds at different angles and positions that affect the light and hues as well as the artist’s view—essentially, a time lapse collapsed into a single painting. This approach keeps his paintings fresh, less in a single moment and more experiential.
Hayes was born in Washington, D.C. and studied at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His artworks have been the subject of more than 32 solo exhibitions since 1983 and included in numerous group exhibitions in the US and internationally, including Portland, OR; Seattle, WA; New York, NY; Washington, D.C.; Tucson, AZ; Lakeville, CT; London, UK; Kyoto, Sapporo and Nagoya, Japan; and Amman, Jordan among other cities. Hayes’ artworks are in many public and private collections in the US and internationally including The Gates Foundation, Portland Art Museum, The New York Public Library, Hallie Ford Museum, Centrum voor Grafiek Frans Masereel, Belgium, and Microsoft Corporation among others. Hayes teaches at Oregon State University and lives in Portland, OR.