Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Giving Thanks Readings
Meet RACC's new leader Madison Cario
November Reviews
Early November Links
Spooky reviews
Countdown to Portlandageddon?
Mid October Links including PNCA/OCAC merger talks
Paul Allen, philanthropist and arts champion dead at 65
Midwest Art Initiative Tour
Haunting October Picks
End of September News
September review cluster

recent comments



Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Openings & Events
About PORT

regular contributors


Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman



Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us


Contact us






powered by


Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a


Creative Commons License

Thursday 04.29.10

« wanted: book artists & photographers | Main | Friday links and reminders »

Jesse Hayward at Linfield College


Despite a glut of group exhibitions at institutions for the past few months the most radical yet well executed show by a local artist has been Jesse Hayward's installation, The Kitchen Counter Collective at Linfield College's Gallery in McMinnville. It ends May 1st so this is your last chance. What's more the show even expands upon his highly successful exhibition in last year's TBA festival (where viewers could rearrange blocks that were also paintings), making this latest outing one of the strongest genre bending exhibitions of painting, sculpture and social interaction I've seen anywhere in recent years. Hayward began his art practice learning directly from Sol LeWitt and Karl Benjamin, so it's been a long road of experimental shows, which now seems fully developed.

Considering this we should revisit the genres being blended:

Painting has traditionally been a creature of expressed choice, put on display for the viewer showcasing the painter's decisions in; color, application method, support surface as well as the selection of subject… even if the subject is painting itself (as in Jackson Pollock). In traditional painting the artist celebrates the primacy of their decisions and there is a lot of emphasis put on authorship of the work.


Whereas, sculpture has always been in the business of form and the ways it negates options of the viewer to explore by taking up available space as form. As an act of scarcifying the resource of space it's inherently more confrontational. Thus, it is presenting paths of relation or direction by removing some options. Sculpture is a compression of choice (aka a decision), whereas painting by being a more provisional and schematic art form is frequently a catalogue of choices, or "moves" if you want a softer term.


Generally speaking then there is something passive and generous about painting and confrontational and active about sculpture. Since the dynamic duo of Donald Judd and Dan Flavin we've been saddled with the realization that both genres can in fact be reconciled pretty effectively. For me Katherina Grosse is the top of my list of current practitioners but Jim Lambie is in there too. All of em, including Hayward are fond of rainbow colors.

If the two venerated disciplines were parts of a restaurant the paintings could be thought of as the menu and sculpture as the table… let's leave the question of the actual art/food as something more difficult to pin down (as exemplified by Hayward's exhibition).


Overall, Jesse Hayward's work has inhabited and explored the space between wall/floor and viewer/artist for the past few years and it's telling that his version of the painting/sculpture restaurant is in fact being called a "kitchen counter." It's a question of agency and formality and by setting up such simple rules, "Be Safe, Make Art," Hayward allows the viewers to endlessly reconfigure the show. The net result is he's turned the art experience into a provisional delegation of composition back upon the viewer… and if they didn't get something out of the experience then the burden also falls somewhat on the viewer. That has always been the case but in this case it's a cleaner inversion, whereby Hayward has become the true spectator. He's even collecting security camera footage.

Also, by delegating his agency of composition to others Hayward has knocked down the "wall" a lot of institutions have been seeking to blur, the art/viewer divide. It's sly because his paintings themselves (as raw material) have gotten a lot better… taking on a kind of Pierre Alechinsky (a comic book version of modern painting) meets LeWitt informality. Though visually satisfying the painting on the frames and boxes are there to psychologically encourage arbitrary decisions by viewers to re-site the work (the complete opposite of Judd and Flavin).


What is scary is how well it works, since the exhibition is full of completely satisfying aesthetic moments. Maybe everyone is an artist as long as there is an artist like Hayward who is willing to create work in support of the notion?

Hayward is ultimately a bit more extreme but heavily indebted to Sol LeWitt (whom as child was lucky enough to work on a wall drawing for).

What is more his show differs and considerably improves upon his TBA outing last fall since this time out the work exists in an institutional white box and not a classroom, which worked but riffed a lot on the romper-room motif. It was maybe too obvious a metaphor?

Instead at Linfield the ideas feel like a more powerful institutional critique, where every painting is equal as is every visitor to the space. Incredibly democratic it allows for a manifold spatial experience reminding each viewer that they were in essence seeing (and creating) a different show in a nice demonstration of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

This infinite interaction ultimately leads to all sorts of apocryphal stories like the two art students who worked together on one corner only to discover a springtime romance. Talk about manifold experience!


The show also differs from the TBA exhibition with the addition of a series of painted reconfigurable and often cantilevered stretcher bars and frames. It's metaphor for seeing and looking at the show of course as well as an institutional lens. Their presence balances the solid forms while making the whole affair more porous, while recursively evoking the whole painting/sculpture dialog again.

An exhibition of infinite interaction, Hayward's The Kitchen Counter Collective may be one of the most effective college gallery art shows imaginable programmatically.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 29, 2010 at 9:19 | Comments (0)


Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee