Paul Andrew Hayes’ San Francisco

September 19, 2008

Another San Fran artist, Paul Hayes, is primarily a sculpturist that currently favours working with organic materials. His installations combining paper and wood within flowing and chandelier like compositions are an acute study of nature represented through these manufactured materials. The work that we documented; since removed from the gallery window at the SF Art Commission Gallery, 155 Grove St. , was a great example of this process. The building apparently doesn’t allow for spectators to enter, so the front window itself was the viewing gallery, so people on the street could view the pieces from outside. It was interesting to overhear some of the comments made by passersby as we shot, and Paul confessed that when he was installing the piece that he enjoyed being incognito to overhear these little sound bites.

Despite the restrictions for viewers to go inside, we were able to get venture in and get inside the piece itself. It was a great vantage point and the buildings natural light through the ceiling windows provided for some dynamic visuals as the light reflecting off the paper created some interesting shadows and reflections. There was a great flow to the piece and once inside, we really got a sense of its movement and flow.

Before visiting his work at the commission we met up at the Alemany Flea Market, where Paul often finds some of the objects he uses in his installations. Trinkets abound: velvet paintings are stacked and an assortment of lively characters sell their wares. It’s a good place to start the day if you are interested in curios and possibly discovering something of value. Paul picked himself up a brass ball, a pair of welding goggles and a grade school book about fishes from the 1970. In that order.

We stayed in that area and took a stroll up Bernal Hill. Fantastic view. It gives one a pretty good vantage on point off the bay area in general. Do this. It’s free.

Golden Gate park was our next destination. We hung out with the other hanger-outs and Paul pointed out the tree where apparently Janis Joplin would climb up and sit inside the tree and pen her song writing. Paul obliged us and did same, sans song writing. Being 6 foot 5, this was quite a feat, and once up there, we imagined the requisite 60s style sunglasses and flower patterned headbands.

Next stop was the Botanical Gardens where Paul talked extensively about the connection between nature – and more specifically the visual patterns nature so often produces in plants, trees and other such things. There are number of exotic plants with exquisite detail, and trees from seemingly disparate backgrounds neighboring one another throughout. Of particular interest was the Japanese ‘moon viewing’ garden, which stood out for its formal design, finely manicured features, and small, friendly water fowl. There’s a nice little pagoda and overhanging tree within its midst too. The gardens overall offer a surprising array of species and spaces to experience and explore. Definitely great for a picnic. It’s bigger than Central Park too. Who knew?

We stopped in at the de Young museum too. One of San Francisco’s newest structures devoted to Contemporary Art. It’s a beautiful building. And the work inside isn’t too shoddy either.

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