Infatuation, as Jefferson Hayman describes it, is a central concept of his latest exhibition. The show title "Limerence" refers to a state of intrigue that does not need to be reciprocated, thus implying that each photograph details a unique object or state that offers its own subtle beauty to Hayman. Each of his photographs contains a hair of mystery, in that its narrative is not necessarily explicit. In this, Hayman allows viewers to write their own story. This constructs a powerful dynamic between the viewer and the artist; whereas Hayman leads us to discover the same beauty that he himself sees.
The invitational image Vesper details a solitary fedora, which appears to be floating on a black background. This stunning print forces our eye to imagine the silhouette of an invisible man beneath the hat. The word vesper, stemming from Latin, signifies the first star of an evening. This evokes the same sense of charm and subtlety that Hayman references throughout this exhibition. While we associate the darkness of the nighttime with secret and mystery, the starkness of the fedora grounds us in reality. The juxtaposition between our physical understanding and our venturing imaginations erects a peculiar emotion, forcing us to settle somewhere in between. This leaves the viewer with a sense of longing, one that can only be satisfied by looking again. This defines Hayman's connection to his subjects and the utter infatuation that he describes.
The images of "Limerence" contain deep, powerful landscapes as well as a collection of fascinating vintage objects, including high heels, a golf ball, and an old film camera. These objects appear as if taken from a time capsule; suitable choices as Hayman states one of his mentors and inspirations was Edward Steichen, one of the pre-eminent photographers of the early 20th century. The colors of each photograph unite Hayman's show as one. With a muted pallet of somber blue, gray, and brown, it does not shout at the viewer, but rather whispers. The desaturated color fields offer a more contemplative sensation and truly call on the viewer to reflect.
Though Hayman most often documents common objects, the soft colors make us linger. We begin to sense a deeper meaning and story behind each photograph, one that feels nostalgic. While each photograph is encased in its own distinctive, artist made or antique frame, they meld together seamlessly, with details from one flowing into the other. The warm, wooden frames lie against a familiar robins egg blue wall, which take us back to cozy nights at home. Hayman is endlessly inspired by story telling and capturing the world as he sees it. In the details of each photograph, he aspires to create a legacy that will outlive him and will continue to have the same haunting effect.
Jefferson Hayman grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Kutztown University. His work can be found in many private and public collections, most notably The Museum of Modern Art Library, The New York Public Library, President Bill Clinton, Robert DeNiro, The Boston Athenaeum, and Ralph Lauren. Hayman recently was awarded the Pollock-Krasner grant for artistic merit.
This is his third solo exhibition at the Robin Rice Gallery.