An Interview with Dennis Hayes IV

by Max KauffmanPosted on

Dennis Hayes IV recently opened a new solo show in his hometown of Detroit-his first in several years. Entitled ‘Polarity and the Space Between’ this body of work sees a slight shift in subject matter, and a huge leap in meaning and personal messages. His birds have ‘migrated’ and their homes and territory are explored both in new contexts and a furthering of his propensity for found object. In his words “this latest work presents hybridizations of our natural and constructed environments. These structures, patterns, and forms symbolize the tension and attraction of interpersonal relations and personal growth.” Max Kauffman interviews the artist below.


What is this new series of work saying?

The last 2 years have been extremely trying and has evoked many extreme emotions and thoughts which have shaken me to my core both in positive and negative ways. In experiencing these converse notions this show is meant to capture the essence of balance and Imbalance.



Fans of your might wonder- where’d the birds go?

Well most are migratory right?….. The birds symbolized niches within culture and typically my opinions or observations about those niches. This body of work doesn’t really critique the social structure but instead looks to something that every part of the social structure endures.




What’s your paintings/scavenging process like- are you still using all found materials/paint?

Ya I am still using a great majority of found materials in my work. There are a few exceptions like wood glue, joining biscuits and shellac. This show is a little bit different though as it comprises of a lot of things that I have been saving for a long time. Stuff that would have ended up being trash, if I didn’t breathe a second life into it. Like the vacuum cleaner bags… I’ve probably been holding onto those things since college. 



When looking at your work, I think almost of math equations come to life or dimensionalized- does the world at a molecular level play into what you do?

Absolutely, I believe that nature replicates itself on many different scales though so it’s not just at the molecular level but a cosmic level as well. So for example as Paul Stamets author of “Running: How Mushrooms Can Save the World” suggests the internet may not only look very similar in design to the structure of a fungus and that of dark matter but may function in the same manner as well. So this idea of math and science that resides in my work takes on almost “Carl Sagan” spiritual role. I say that in jest but I feel that math and science can really be the means to understanding balance.  


‘Polarity and the Space Between’ is at Re:View Contemporary in Detroit, MI and runs through Nov 19th.

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