Rachel Hayden is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Her quirky, playful paintings are populated by motifs drawn from the margins of her middle school notebooks. Butterflies, rainbows, shooting stars, caricature self-portraits, fruits, and flowers with human faces appear again and again like a cast of recurring characters placed in different settings and situations. Intuitive in nature, while simultaneously prioritizing organization and visual balance, Hayden likens her process of placing objects to arranging souvenirs on a shelf.
“In this body of work, bugs, fruits, and flower-figures grapple with certain hard-to-describe human feelings, relating to comfort, anxiety, love and grief,” she says. “Ambiguous emotions are manifested in glossy eyes and half-smiles. . . This work is inspired by big, heavy feelings and their mysterious origins—the sudden pangs of anxiety that strike in childhood, as well as the moments of abundance and bliss. Ultimately in these paintings I seek to find order in chaos, joy in mess, and humor in tragedy.”
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