Following in the line of post-minimalists, my work prioritizes the inclinations and performance of materials, cultivating an ambiguity which both de-stables and incites investigation on the part of the viewer. Visually, I seek to enliven and glorify the aspects of our bodies discarded within mainstream visual culture—it’s blood, it’s tactility, it’s susceptibility to change. Growing up with an autoimmune disorder, my conception of self was inextricably intertwined with the texture and tonalities of my skin. I developed a proclivity for ephemerality and favor for materials and compositions which are meditative upon the fragment. While posing a challenge to the neoclassical body, I lend my voice to the subtleties of human experience, to the pre-operations of abjection, of self-objectification, and mortality anxiety. Though trained in painting, my work primarily engages informal materials and mixed media painting as well as fiber and photography.
I hope to use the residency as an advancement of my perspective of the body and my practice as an experimentalist. Beginning in the fall my practice has included an investigation of paper based sculpture. The work integrates recycled (manufactured papers, fibers) and natural (local vegetation, berries, leaves) materials into a sculptural pulp which could be combined into the frameworks of existing materials; cheesecloth, fiberglass matting, netting, and lace. The large format sheets which are produced are heterogeneous and explicative of the effects of consumption on a dermal surface. I’ve pursued similar experiments with spandex and wax, creating skin-like, cortical surfaces which facilitate associations with topography and tectonics—making earthly fissures and growths analogous to those of the body. Both of these material avenues conceptually, play upon environmental ephemerality.
Hayla Ragland is an emerging artist working in informal mixed media. She is currently doing her BFA at Kentucky University, and is the recipient of numbers honours and awards.