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Bethany Hays paints landscapes in which the stuff of everyday life takes center stage. Mixing art historical references with domestic imagery she strives to elevate the mundane and draw attention to the creativity that exists in overlooked places. As Hays’ experience working with watercolor has grown she has become increasingly intrigued by watercolor’s relationship to painting and drawing and its place in the discourse about abstraction and representation that informs contemporary two-dimensional work. Watercolor brings something unique to this discussion in that it is undeniably flat, since it soaks into the paper making substrate and paint one. By contrast, oil, acrylic and even most drawing materials sit on the surface, creating some amount of relief, texture or dust. Hays uses watercolor to illustrate the relief in the shallow depth of acrylic or oil brushstrokes, asking: “What does it mean when what appears to be a gestural mark is painstakingly rendered?”

Combining painterly marks with household materials suggests that these ubiquitous materials act as marks and gestures in our everyday lives, alluding to the incidental creativity in which all people regularly engage. These persistent creative forces also act upon our environment to sculpt landscapes. The title, Erratic, refers to glacial erratic and serves as a metaphor for the outcome of the unpredictable creative process. The paintings act as relics of intuitive play, scoured and shaped by choices along the way. They are simultaneously out of place in their environment, yet strangely familiar in their homage to known forms.