Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Art of Simplicity

“The frames choose the photographs actually.
Jefferson Hayman

In what he describes as “A reverse way of creating the final product I guess,” the New York photographer Jefferson Hayman uses his hand made antique frames to determine their contents.

As he told the Sycamore Review’s Juliette Ludeker “My studio walls are filled with empty, antique frames. The sizes and various elements of the frame dictate what photograph will go inside.”

It was while he was studying for his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kutztown University that Hayman learned his frame making skills and appreciation.

As he explained in 2015 to Siegel+Gale’s Simplifiers blogWhen I was back in art school, I needed a job, and I had two options: a dishwasher, or picture framer. Those were the only two jobs available and I had already been a dishwasher for longer than I care to say. So I decided that I would take this job as a picture framer and learn a skill—and also hopefully get free art supplies, which I needed at the time. After taking the job, I realized the importance of the picture frame. It’s this DMZ between the art and the world. It’s that last area, a border basically, between reality, and the reality of what the artist is creating on the page.

And within these borders Hayman places his nostalgic styled photographs that strive for a timelessness aesthetic of simplicity.

About which he says “The more simple a composition, I have always thought, speaks louder than a more complicated one. There’s a phrase out there: “A whisper is more powerful than a shout,” that’s something that I think about when composing work or when formalizing an idea. I think it evokes a sense of contemplation. A lot of artwork these days doesn’t require that you stand in front of it for too long. A lot of it is flash and pop-oriented images. But what I’d like to do, what I hope to do, is to engage the viewer to contemplate my works in hopes that it stays with them once they’ve moved beyond my artwork.

Hayman’s current exhibition Limerence is on show at New York’s Robin Rice Gallery until the 19th of June. 

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