Irene Hayes

Artist Statement

I am an experimental textile and clothing designer based in Portland, Maine. My work highlights the tension between humankind’s desire for material goods and nature’s resilience and retaliatory force to survive despite human’s relentless desire for more. “Garden of Capitalist Delights”, my current work, exists at the blurred line between clothing and fine art experimentation, and should be considered an uncanny observation of often unchallenged, everyday concepts of nature and capitalism.

I create hand painted watercolor canvas and nylon textiles and sew them into clothing and sculpture. The clothing resists wearability, and limits my body with fabric. I feel this is a metaphor for my subject matter because of the resistance of fabric on my own skin. I make purses with no opening, hand painted tights as pants, and play against societal norms as an active study of function. Finding poetry in clothing and the immediacy of its connotations that we are privy to everyday leads me to feel excited to use clothing as my leading hand, and elated to guide you down an unpaved story that I feel a premonition to tell.

An example of nature’s retaliation to material goods involve rust that corrodes a metal bike or tree roots pushing through and cracking a concrete sidewalk, disrupting the purpose for which they were constructed. Ultimately, nature’s rhythm responds to forces of its destruction.

I integrate my work in a digital artist book in which I create an environment for my clothing and sculpture with the purpose of giving context to the work and the message, ultimately worldbuilding.