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Similarly Be Said of Souls: Artists Books Exhibit by Erin Hayden

Friday, August 9th 2019
Sunday, October 20th 2019

Event Description

Artist statement

My work makes use of the ubiquitous images that define our everyday, seemingly insignificant experiences to explore, question, and challenge who we are, how we got here, and where we are going. I revel in the digital spaces that are woven into our very being. Through humor, redundancy, and absurdity, I poke and prod at the surface-level values we seem to hold in high regards over the things that actually matter in life. For some time, I have been interested in what painting has to say about this increasingly digital world. My work has thus involved covering areas of digitally-manipulated fabric images with paint in a variety of ways. In some instances, the paint becomes the obvious feature, in others the image takes over. The painting sometimes acts as camouflage to blend in with the digital image it obscures, while in other moments it asserts itself as an obviously painted gesture. This creates a back-and-forth play of space, image, and form, and I have been interested in the surface as site where this exchange takes place for each work. Within my writing I tend to take a more analog approach to constructing mind spaces while also composing on the page. Among many others, I am influenced by the repetitions of Gertrude Stein, the surprise in the ends and beginnings of lines of e.e. cummings, the theosophical research of Annie Besant. There also is a performative element to the making of my writing, as words move into poetry, prose and then drawing with my typewriter. My writing allows for errors to be visible without being automatically corrected on a computer or phone, and this allows for a poetic riffing on mistakes as part of the fluid writing process.

Artist Biography

Erin Hayden lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received an MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University, Evanston, IL in 2016, a BFA in painting and BA in Art Teacher Education from Illinois State University, Normal, IL, in 2013. Hayden has had recent solo exhibitions at the Chicago Artists Coalition, Chicago, IL, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, UIS Visual Arts Gallery, Springfield, IL, Mana Contemporary, Chicago, IL, Randy Alexander Gallery, Chicago, IL, and Jan Brandt Gallery, Bloomington, IL. Recent group exhibitions include Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, Aspect Ratio Gallery, Chicago, IL, and Left Field, San Luis Obispo, CA. She has been an artist resident at the Chicago Artists Coalition, Ragdale Foundation, and the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity, and is a Luminarts Fellow. She has been featured in reviews and publications including Frieze, Chicago Tribune, Lori Waxman’s 60wrd/min art critic, and NewCity Art.

Milner Library is pleased to present this exhibit in collaboration with the artist and with University Galleries’ Director and Chief Curator Kendra Paitz.


Photo: Erin Hayden, Fiona Malcom and the water (detail), 2019. Acrylic on dyed fabric, 42 x 60 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

If you will need special accommodations, please contact the event organizer.


Milner Library
(309) 438-3481


Milner Library
201 N. School Street
Normal, IL
Floor 2
(309) 438-3451