Past Exhibit

Rachel Hayes: Transcending Space

a large banner with multiple colors hangs in a gallery

Rachel Hayes: Transcending Space, presented in Fruitlands Museum’s entranceway and main gallery, features recent works by Oklahoma-based artist Rachel Hayes. Blurring the realms of craft, sculpture, architecture, and land art, Hayes creates large-scale textile installations that respond to their natural and manmade environments. Transcending Space features several of her large, color-block fabric hangings alongside a new body of work that combines dried flower bouquets with patches of vibrant fabric. Supplemented by PLATFORM 31: Rachel Hayes, The Edge of Becoming on Fruitland’s hillside, opening in June 2023, the exhibition showcases the range and evolution of Hayes’s practice, while enlivening and transforming Fruitlands’ existing spaces.

Hayes repurposes nylon, polyester, and cotton segments from earlier artworks and stitches them together into grid-like abstract compositions. Each work is inspired by a given site, like the White Sands National Park of New Mexico or the golden, grassy fields of Kansas. Her pieces recall the monumentality and immersive sculptures by artists like Richard Serra and Christo, and embody traditional craft techniques like those of the Gee’s Bend Quilters. By confounding these artistic movements, Hayes challenges conventional definitions of “women’s work” and upends the traditionally male-dominated title of “sculptor.”

Leaving in every imperfect stitch and frayed edge, Hayes openly displays an artwork’s life and the hand behind its making. Transcending Space encourages deeper inspection of the works’ subtleties, from their textures to colors and stitchwork, and reveals the sincere gestures embedded in each of Hayes’s creations. The exhibition reflects the vast range of awe-inspiring experiences offered at Fruitlands, where one can be as struck by the landscape’s beauty and grandeur as by the delicately crafted fiber works from Shaker and Indigenous communities in the museum’s permanent collection.

Rachel Hayes: Transcending Space is organized by the Fruitlands Museum, The Trustees, and is curated by Haley Clouser, Curatorial Fellow.

Support provided by the Coby Foundation, Ltd.

About the Artist

Rachel Hayes (b. 1977, Kansas City, MO) received her BFA in Fiber from the Kansas City Art Institute and her MFA in Painting from Virginia Commonwealth University. Among many honors, she is recipient of the Joan Mitchell Award in Painting and Sculpture. She has exhibited her work at institutions including the Sculpture Center, New York, NY; Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, KS. In Summer 2022, she exhibited site-specific installations with ISTANBUL74 during the 16th Contemporary Istanbul and at NOMAD in Capri, IT. Her work has been covered by The New Yorker, The New York Times, Architectural Digest, Vogue, The Cut, LA Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Bazaar, and Artforum among others.

Main Image Caption: Installation view, Rachel Hayes: Transcending Space, on view at Fruitlands Museum through 2024. Photo: Mel Taing 

Art On View