Rachel Hayden

Mirror in the Sky
June 4 – July 17, 2021
Gallery Two

Exhibition Text


ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce Mirror in the Sky, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Rachel Hayden in Gallery Two. The exhibition opens Friday, June 4, and continues through Saturday, July 17, 2021. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

Utilizing trenchant colors, distinct and richly detailed figures, and elemental narratives described through the interaction of her foreground and background imagery, Hayden’s paintings vibrate with a direct, playful energy that belie their genesis in a deeper personal narrative. Her visual language captures an intimate emotional space.

The title of the exhibition is a lyric from the Stevie Nicks’ song ‘Landslide’, but it more directly references The Chicks cover version that the artist listened to with her mother while she drove her to school as a child. Hayden experienced a complex emotional moment with her mother singing along to the song, while she was battling breast cancer, a disease she would succumb to some years later. Afterwards, Hayden would return to that song periodically, and it would bring her back to that moment, which in turn brought her face to face with her own existence.

Many of the new paintings presented here employ a doubling of the figure, a very literal reference to the mirror in the exhibition’s title. Like many of us, Hayden spent a lot of time at home over the past year, in a state of self-reflection. She notes, “I sometimes find myself zoning out in front of the mirror, thinking about how odd it is that that reflection is me, that I exist, this is now, and I’m me and no one else.” Romantic notions of the self in the world are evident throughout these new works. Hayden continues, “Every now and then I get that same ‘Landslide’ pit in my stomach. My recent work deals with the nuanced joys and pains of solitude, and the spectrum of emotion between loneliness and self-reliance. It depicts a headspace shaped sometimes by anxiety, sometimes by mania, sometimes by an unexpected feeling of sudden belonging. In these paintings, objects float in midair, and for one special moment, align perfectly with one another. In the midst of chaos, I like to imagine a world of weightlessness, balance and symmetry.”

RACHEL HAYDEN (American, b. 1992) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Hayden received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2015. She has had recent solo exhibitions at Bim Bim Gallery (Paris, France), First Amendment Gallery (San Francisco, CA) and Resort Gallery (Baltimore, MD). She was included in Snail Shell, a two-person exhibition with Maria Guzman-Capron at Pt. 2 Gallery (Oakland, CA) in 2020. Recent group exhibitions include Binder Projects (Memphis, TN) and Wunderwall (Antwerp, BE). This is her first solo exhibition with the gallery.