Glen Hayward’s work blends carving, painting, and conceptualism to snare the viewer in a standoff around what is real or illusionary, art or not art, profound or absurd. Wish You Were Here focuses on his projects of the last decade which mark a shift away from the making of discrete objects and collections to the construction of whole spaces or environments—all out of wood and paint. This is the first time that these projects have been brought together as an ensemble. An artist of the remake, Hayward has variously tweaked or reconfigured these works to open up new meanings and associations.
Wish You Were Here also features a new series based on Hayward’s travel to some of the world’s major galleries. Rather than profound art experiences, Hayward walked away with bad photographs of drinking fountains, handrails, and other fixings which he subsequently remade in his Whanganui studio. The project offers a new twist on Hayward’s interest in redeploying the objects that are put to work in the art gallery, which allows him to tease out the behaviours and experiences they engender, and then question how this all intersects with ‘the real world’.
Hayward is a wayward art viewer and, in many ways, also a wayward maker of art. His work constantly forces us to look and think again. It offers a kind of everyday mysticism, challenging us to trust in or doubt the validity of the objects or experiences that we encounter in the here and now—inside the art gallery but also in the world beyond it.
City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, 14 May–11 September 2022