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LMFA hosting two exhibits simultaneously

By Meredith Shamburger
Jan. 12, 2017 at 4 a.m.

Artist Daniel Hays will exhibit his work through Feb. 18 at the Longview Museum of Fine Art.

Artist Daniel Hays takes inspiration from many things, including the physical act of painting.

"I would say painting for sure, and the history of painting," he said. "Just the act of painting is a huge inspiration. I would say history, but also kind of using physical materials as a way to symbolically speak to some of that history but also stay within my interest of painting."

Hays' work is one of two new exhibits opening Jan. 10 at the Longview Museum of Fine Arts, alongside the museum's own permanent collection of Australian Aboriginal art. The two exhibits will run simultaneously through Feb. 18.

The Aboriginal collection features both dot art, a well-known style of the Central and Western Desert that includes thousands of dots placed in rhythmic concentric patterns and circles, and cross hatch, stories and myths contained in the actual animal and spirit-being forms.

Featured artists include Linda Syddick Napaltjarri, a woman who took up painting in the early 1990s when it was still a male-dominated art form among aboriginal cultures. Napaltjarri's work includes a combination of Christian and Aboriginal traditional motifs in dot art.

The museum's collection of Australian Aboriginal art has not been displayed since 2007.

"And a lot of it hadn't been seen even then," Interim Director Tiffany Jehorek said.

Much of Hays' work explores the relationships between people and the environment and art and consumer culture. Painting itself, Hays said, is also an inspiration — and sometimes a protest. He's interested in showing the mundane and reminding people of their subjectivity.

Hays also hopes his work inspires a search or some sort of questioning for the person viewing it.

"That's kind of the ultimate goal of having any art," he said.

Hays, a Chandler native, has dual citizenship in the United States and Germany. His LMFA exhibit includes work from the past 10 years and a new series inspired by living in East Texas.

His work was originally scheduled to be exhibited alongside his friend and fellow artist Terrenceo Hammond, but then Hammond became unavailable to do the show.

"It evolved pretty quickly because it was planned as a two-person show and kind of fell through," Hays said.

What Hays and the museum decided to do instead was seek out a lot of Hays' earlier works from local private collections, including exhibits committee member George Thomas's collection. Thomas has been an avid Hays fan for several years.

"He was very young at the time," Thomas said when Hays first showed his work. "He was in eighth grade, and I bought them. I think one of them might be in the show."

Thomas described the show as something that "speaks of the terrain of East Texas," especially as Hays uses pine needles, clay and other found materials in some of his art. And the unexpected addition of previous work adds to the exhibit, Thomas said.

"Really good artists are always able to work with an accident and make the accident a part of it," Thomas said. "That's how I feel about this show. We worked with it."

Jehorek said Hays' talent is unusual, especially because he is so young.

"He's done large-scale pieces, his work is very varied, there's been a definite difference in his early stuff from 2004 to now," she said. "It's interesting to see how it evolves and how they go together."

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