NATHAN HAYDEN: Manhattan Beach Project
December 3, 2007 – January 24, 2008
Included in several group exhibitions since 2001, “Manhattan Beach Project” is the 4th solo show of Nathan Hayden’s work. His work has been written about in publications including the L.A. Times and Art on Paper. He is currently a Regents Fellow working on his Master’s of Fine Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
In his large scale installations and paintings, daily experiences are synthesized into invented landscapes. Reminiscent of cartoons and biological illustrations, his work imagines pop-scientific narratives of worlds in flux. He has continued to develop site-specific installations of large-scale knotted webs made out of string, from which he has hung drawings and objects in elaborate patterns.
Within each of his drawings and paintings is a constructed environment, in which he projects an interest in relationships between plants, animals and mechanical shapes. These scenes and creatures reflect images from his childhood as well as anxieties and anticipation of the future of genetic modification, other emerging technologies, and the increasing amount of pollution to our environment that is often the result of such technological and scientific advances. The organic forms are reminiscent of cartoons or folkloric illustrations from children’s books such as Beatrix Potter, Grimm Fairy Tales, and Dr. Seuss. As individuals inhabiting their own ecosystems, they play active roles in their environments and reflect his interest in biology and storytelling. The ornate and excessive nature of his work mirrors the abundance of language in our media-saturated environment. In producing an atmosphere of symbols, he manipulates images like advertisers spin a product. In order to do this he uses humor and beauty to attract the viewer to pictures that reveal conflict and abjection.
The construction of these installations requires balancing and suspending the structure by tying strings together in overlapping patterns to allow the weight to be evenly distributed. As the building of each of his installations informs the next, they remain in tenuous suspension of fixed meaning. He is increasingly interested in the act of building these structures and the continuous incarnation of his installations as performance. The string structures were originally conceived as a method to display the drawings, but they have become interesting and complex forms unto themselves.
His site specific installation at the Creative Art Center in Manhattan Beach will resemble a computerized matrix of lines which will describe a solid form but also allow us to see through it. This effect will create a large hovering vortex suspended in three-dimensional form. The second component of this installation will consist of drawings and paintings arranged on the wall in a pattern that will hypnotically pull people in, and simultaneously change accordingly as they pass by. By bringing together two and three-dimensionality, this project will not only give an expansive experience of the space, but also invite viewers to feel as if they are a part of the hypothetical biological/industrial worlds before them.