CATHY HAYES

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My work is about questioning old myths and stories upon which our culture has been based and in doing so understand how our roles developed. These questionings prompt me to create new paintings through re-imagining these tales from a position of gender equality. They are embodied explorations of female physicality, sexuality and power. Most of all I see my creative practice as a process of unlearning cultural stories from the past. Working out of black and more recently imaging myself gravity free under the sea, I try to reimagine new emotions from these stories and use the movement of colour to establish the tone.
There is a sense of catharsis to making my paintings, a release and a re-imagining. The darkness of Baroque artists has inspired me because the sense of action right in the cropped picture frame ,the effect is almost theatrical. Lucy Cooke’s revelatory book called Bitch has expanded our understanding on Darwin’s theory of survival and female passivity, this has inspired my new works where I imagine the female as part sea animal or bird, as was the case in the old mythological stories. The Under the ocean series came about from spending time in The Bahamas and being supported by warm, luminous liquid I feel a sense of freedom and safety to explore these ideas that are part of the current zeitgeist. It is of course also the place from whence we came.

www.cathyoreillyhayes.com