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Episode 102: Donté K. Hayes

First impressions of Donté K. Hayes' new works:

Texture and minimalism.

These elements seemed to be deliciously conflicting.

For minimalism, texture can sometimes busy-up the surface.

For texture . . . minimalism seems inconsequential.

Without knowing Hayes' perspective, this is where my mind initially drifted.

I admired the solid, strong forms . . . Dark and stern. The meticulously carved rhythmic ripples drew me closer. I felt that emotionally, this was probably a cathartic process for Hayes- both in manipulating the clay into form and then methodically chiseling in relief work into greenware. Light illuminated these tiny crafted planes . . . The texture added a living vitality to these compositions, giving the impression of movement or even breathing . . . Or maybe even that these pieces were once very much alive, but now drying . . . Something new . . . in form, function and overall being.

The poetic names bestowed on the sculptures further enhanced my outlook.

His one-word titles teeter between adjective and verb.

Past and present. Tense.

Reminded of Martin Puryear in both form and texture, Elizabeth Catlett, whom Donté recognizes as an inspiration, is also evident to me in terms of influence- especially in his two-dimensional works.

Hayes' exploration of culture, history and artifact extends into his True Kingz series. Inspired by the history and symbolism surrounding Benin heads, Hayes combines past, present and future in his own representation of the art form. In a 2019 article featured in The Daily Iowan, reporter Madison Lotenschtein quoted Hayes in the article Benin heads, pineapples, Daleks: the art of Donté Hayes as saying the following about this body of work:

“They are inspired by Benin heads and astronaut helmets. Oba meaning king, in the Benin language of the West Africa region in the modern republics of Benin, Nigeria. Most likely, the enslaved Africans were from the region of West Africa. The schools I attended did not teach us about their culture, their empires. I had to learn this on my own.”

True Kingz Series: Future King, Hero King, and Warrior King. Ceramic, Underglaze and Glaze.

In all of this, I have barely scratched the surface of this brilliant artist, and we are thrilled that he is joining us for Episode 102 of The Large Glass. Take a sneak peak into the mind of Donté K. Hayes by watching this video produced by Little Village Magazine.

Join us this Tuesday night (and every Tuesday night) for an unforgettable discussion at 8 pm EST on the platform of your choice ( Facebook, Youtube, or Twitch!).

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