Maya Hayuk’s murals, acrylic and spray paint wall instillations, launched at the Hammer Museum on August 16.
Baltimore native and current Brooklyn resident Maya Hayuk travels the world painting her vibrantly colored, psychedelic murals, utilizing intricate pattern-work that conjures intergalactic imagery and customary Ukrainian designs. Following one-person exhibitions at coveted museums in the Netherlands, Rio De Janiero, Santiago, and around New York City, Hayuk was commissioned by Hammer Museum's assistant curator Corrina Peipon—who has mentored the artist for almost 15 years—to paint her engaging pop-culture creations in the lobby of the Hammer Museum as part of Hammer Projects, a series that supports emerging artists. Her mammoth murals launched as “Hammer Projects: Maya Hayuk” at an August 16 event with artists Chris Johanson and Gary Panter and music from No Age band.
“The stairs, the walls, the changing light, the multiple vantage points, the different levels of potential engagement, the amount of time I had to work, the scaffolding, and how I could actually reach the walls all influenced what happened,” says the artist, who created all five murals organically by improvising on site, attempting to tailor her work to the space she was given. “It feels better to work this way than to force what ‘has to’ happen. The painting emerged from what was already there, and it was my job to listen and figure out what it was asking for.”
Specifically, the geometric stairs by one wall gave rise to a weaving pattern, a wall’s three-level scaffold is something Hayuk incorporated via a three-tiered painting, and another wall was painted in a single day. For works she knew would be seen from a distance, Hayuk strived to emphasize the wetness of the paint, so it would look like slick vinyl. She also considers how the lighting changes in daylight and under artificial lights, as well as vantage point, which is much different to someone driving by as opposed to stepping close to the work. “These experiences are very personal to me and very exciting,” she says.
Next, the MFA graduate and frequent art curator, who has studied at prestigious art schools in the Ukraine and Maine, and been part of group exhibitions from San Francisco to France, is spending five days designing a custom mural for the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. “Hammer Projects: Maya Hayuk” will remain on display through January 26, 2014.