Claire Haye’s new show Clay: Then And Now, opened at Magpie last week.
This show appears to be both an arrival and departure for Claire. Clay was her Genesis as an artist, the first medium she began exploring in earnest once her daughters were old enough and in school.
The clay she rolled into sheets of terra-cotta was used to make the whimsical, brightly coloured, and often larger than life sculptures she became known for. Her pieces are in many private and public collections, acquired by collectors during the 80’s.
In her press release for this show, Georgia Gersh tells us that “One life sized sculpture, “Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries,” was purchased by the Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza, a noted industrialist and art collector, and flown by private jet to his Paris home.”
Georgia of course has known Claire all of her life; growing up with Claire’s daughters, all of them the progeny of Bohemian artistic parents. As was Claire, who’s mother was a dancer. Georgia in fact has been photographed by Claire’s daughter, Melissa Haye-Cserhat, modelling Claire’s popular jewelry.
Claire’s career exploded during the 90’s when she turned to making wearable sculpture; the aforementioned, gorgeous jewelry made with precious and semi-precious metals and stones. Pieces that were avidly collected by women from all over, after the work was picked up by the QVC Network. These women continue to buy the new lines Claire comes out with, year after year from both her eponymous gallery in Arroyo Seco (Claireworks, which she opened in ‘97), as well as online.
No artist is limited to one medium and that is especially true of Claire, who also works in bronze and paints and writes.
Her book, (A Modern Woman’s Guide To Ageing), is a helpful manual for women of a certain age living in uncertain times.
Her paintings too, are extraordinary and often quite profound. Claire’s a stone intellectual who is not afraid to plumb the depths of the mind. She’s also emotionally savvy, and the combination makes for powerful work.
In 2011, a trip to Spain with its Moorish past imbedded in its art, ceramics and tiles, inspired Claire to return to her first medium.
A year later she installed a 6’x 8’ mural entitled A Tree for Arroyo Seco in front of her gallery. Recently Claire installed a new tile mural (Taos Quilt in Clay), at the Habitat for Humanity Building on Salazar Road in Taos.
Clay:Then and Now will include some of Haye’s older work, including the prize-winning sculptures The Creams. She will also show nine new murals available for purchase; all high fired, glazed tiles suitable for indoor or outdoor installation.
Returning to Clay, her medium then (and now), Claire’s show at Magpie is an arrival of sorts; a return to her creative roots. And the departure? This show at Magpie, away from the security of her gallery in Seco, once more on the road to Taos.
Claire Haye’s show, Clay:Then And Now, is at Magpie (in the Overland Ranch Complex), through the end of October.
For more information please visit the sites linked below.
Photograph of Claire Haye, thanks to Magpie. B&W image thanks to Claire and Melissa Haye-Cserhat.