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Artist Jodi Hays

Updated: Oct 20, 2022

Jodi Hays (b. 1976, Arkansas, United States) is a painter who exhibits widely across the United States. Her work has been shown at the Wiregrass Museum, Stoveworks Museum, the Brooks Museum (Memphis), Red Arrow Gallery, David Lusk Gallery, Labspace, Tiger Strikes Asteroid (GVL), Fisk University, Browsing Room, L Ross Gallery, Curb Center at Vanderbilt University, Grizzly Grizzly, Boston Center for the Arts and Cooper Union.

She is a 2019 Finalist for the Hopper Prize. She is the recipient of grants from Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Individual Artist Fellowship from the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. Residencies include The Cooper Union School of Art and Vermont Studio Center. Her work is documented in catalogs and has been published in New American Painting and Hyperallergic, and positively reviewed in publications such as ArtForum International, New Art Examiner, Number Inc. Magazine, the Nashville Scene and Two Coats of Paint.

Her paintings can be found in many public and corporate collections including the J Crew Group (New York), Nashville International Airport, National Parks of America, Gordon College (MA), the Tennessee State Museum, among others. She lives and works in Nashville, Tennessee and had her first West Coast solo show at Night Gallery in Los Angeles, California in Summer 2022.

"I come from gardeners, teachers, believers, sinners, moon-lighting loggers, makers, millners, cooks, healers, pharmacists, and grocers.I come from the American South, a place where the kitchen and pharmacy are the same room. In many ways, I see my work as that same room—an expansive space for building and coming together.

Landscape and the material vocabulary of the American South influence my abstraction. Mining a southern povera, I use reclaimed textiles, fabric, and cardboard. These materials serve as stand-ins for expressive marks, and resourceful labor.

I paint as a form of note-taking and organizing knowledge. Grid systems serve as a scaffold for repeated patterns. I keep a rude, yet not untidy studio with a few burners going at once. I don’t tend to follow recipes—I am a process-based painter."

Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.

My arts background began as a visual walkabout in the American South, in Arkansas. When I got to art school in college I found reflected back to me a lack (of pedigree, models, opportunity, resources). But it was never a lack. I have learned all the art world histories, tricks, models (outdated and those that can serve me well), resistances, habits, hang-ups, and rich communities. And I can add back all of those early observances that make a singular, important, under-represented voice.

What kind of work are you currently making?

I make large scale paintings, using reclaimed materials for collage. Then I take little meanders, making small sculptures and stacks. Right now my head is focused on a very large works or two for a museum show next year.

What is a day like in the studio for you?

My days vary. I tend to rely on reading and cleaning, moving, stacking, (very) background radio, deadlines, and hard stop times.

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

Reading Judd, looking at Marfa, wishing I could buy the Glove Factory in my home town.

Where can we find more of your work?

Night Gallery (LA) has a great viewing room from my show this summer

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