Monday, January 17, 2011

Cage Free Contemporaries: Drew Hyatt

What's up, ya nerds?! 
Welcome to the long-awaited second edition of Cage Free Contemporaries, featuring my good friend, Drew Hyatt.  Drew is currently a Printmaking BFA student at Ole Miss.

I really enjoy Drew's work.  The subject matter always intrigues me:  while the work is very personal, the execution ranges from the comical to the very serious to the abstract.  He's a jack-of-all-trades in the printshop.  Its easy to pick one medium that comes naturally to you and stick to it.  Drew does it all and does it well.  I admire that.  
Here's Drew's artist statement:
I create art as a means to ignore, resolve, and understand my experiences as an infantry line medic in Iraq. I am usually hesitant to create work pertaining to these experiences, but I believe my observations and opinions are socially relevant and should be explored by my peers. I prefer to use traditional printing processes, because they are so time intensive and force one to have complete control over the medium in order to have successful work. I believe that the actual process of creating work in this way is more important than the actual finished product.
I see process is being very therapeutic, because my mind becomes entirely occupied on the process while working as opposed to the content. I identify with the Buddhist tradition of creating sand Mandalas, because they are an exercise in focusing ones mind. I see my art as a way to focus my mind on something other than these intense and painful experiences.
M.C. Escher, Ralph Steadman, and Daniel Reeves also influence me. I strive to attain the level of craftsmanship in both Escher and Steadman’s work, while working with similar themes as Reeves. Prevalent themes that have begun to present themselves in my work are conflicted identity, physical pain, emotional pain, violence, shame, and peace. I have tried to move from creating pieces that broadly explain my experiences to work that is representative of specific situations that bother me. I hope that working through these themes and experiences will give my viewers insight into my personal experiences as well as providing them with first hand experience of an ongoing and important conflict. 
Below, a few examples of Drew's work.

See what I mean?  A little bit of everything.  Each piece makes me question not only its meaning, but why Drew made it.  Was it to resolve, to understand, or to ignore his experiences in Iraq?  Drew's attention to detail and desire to control his medium are apparent in each piece.    
I'm very much looking forward to Drew's thesis show.

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