Included in many group exhibitions “Manhattan Beach Project” was the 4th solo show of Nathan Hayden’s work that I curated in 2007. His work had been written about in publications including the L.A. Times and Art on Paper. He received his Masters of Fine Art from 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.