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david ebony's top ten

paula hayes at ac project room

Nov. 22, 1997 - Jan. 17, 1998  

A Movable Land
   The sculptor Paula Hayes is also a professional gardener. In this show she meshes both of her talents into one astonishing installation. Against one wall of the gallery is a shelf of potted plants. Hanging on the wall is a certificate drawn up by the artist designating each plant as a work of art that she has personally nurtured. Another work is a wall-hung terrarium filled with exotic plants, such as Venus flytraps and a fantastic purple orchid. In a piece titled A Movable Land, she creates a portable garden in a colorful wooden box with a grow-light attached. The plants in the box may be personalized for each collector and come with a diary in which the collector may jot down observations on the development of the mini-garden. Elsewhere in the show, a large box covered with brown cloth contains some strange cargo -- perfectly manicured sod.

Hayes's Zen-like meditations on nature in this show are totally compelling, and the poetic ephemeralness of the work is surprisingly resonant. She has made a convincing case for the interchangeableness of nature and art.

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