A public garden & cultural center

Hugh Hayden

Recapturing the Scenic Wilds
Glyndor Gallery | September 06 - December 07, 2014

Pictured above: American Hero #5, 2014, Braided taxidermy American black bear (Ursus americanus). Photo credit Stefan Hagen

Hugh Hayden turns a designer’s sense of texture and pattern to the polychromatic world of animal appearances. For Recapturing the Scenic Wilds, Hayden exhibits three works that focus on furs, feathers and skins to blur the lines between commercial product and pristine wildlife. In his wall pieces, Hayden meticulously layers real feathers, one by one, over depictions of birds, such as prints from John James Audubon’s Birds of America. For his imposing sculpture, he hired a professional hair stylist to transform a taxidermied black bear by braiding its fur into an elaborate pattern.

Not only a vehicle for critique, the animals in Hayden’s work are selected for their specific qualities, often as social symbols. The pigeon feathers applied over wildfowl plumage act as a shorthand for the domestication of the great American wilderness. By styling the hair of the black bear, Hayden reinterprets an icon of American masculinity. This attention to what makes a species special marks Hayden’s work as true to the naturalist career of John James Audubon.

Hayden’s practice juxtaposes disparate materials to produce sensuous sculptures, often reinventing a preexisting object through an elegant, though laborious, process. He has exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Abrons Art Center, and Rush Arts Gallery, all in New York, NY, among other venues. The current American representative to the Glenfiddich Residency in Dufftown, Scotland, he has also received a Socrates Sculpture Park Emerging Artist Fellowship, an Abrons Art Center AIRSpace Residency, and a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Residency, all in New York City. Hayden holds a BArch from Cornell University.

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The Arts at Wave Hill are supported by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Michael J. Shannon; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation; and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.