A love of interesting surfaces and life’s rich patina, which only arrives very gradually with age, is central to the making of Bill Hay’s paintings. A deliberate layering and scumbling (pushing the half set paint about) has been employed to create the works, which in turn gives a sense of time and history slowly passing.
Painted in gouache on paper, the works have been made in such a way that the resulting images are “often as much a surprise to the artist as they might be to the viewer.” Chance certainly plays a part but there is more to it than hoping for happy accidents to present themselves.
Certain themes are carried throughout the works, some ancient, others modern. Imagery from the artist’s prior visits to Naples, Rome and Pompeii are conspicuous, but so too are thoughts on modern warfare, private gardens or the eternal problem of just keeping one’s head above water.
Image: Keeping Our Heads Above Water by Bill Hay, gouache on paper, 2011, 320 X 415mm.