Tear Aparts, #6 | Digital Photography | 11" x 14" | 2017
Artist Statement: Following in the line of post-minimalists, my work prioritizes the inclinations and performance of materials, cultivating an ambiguity that both destabilizes and incites investigation on the part of the viewer. Visually, I seek to enliven and glorify the aspects of our bodies that are discarded within mainstream visual culture—its blood, its tactility, its susceptibility to change. Growing up with an autoimmune disorder, my conception of self was inextricably intertwined with the texture and tonalities of my skin. I developed a proclivity for ephemerality and favor for materials and compositions that are meditative upon the fragment. While posing a challenge to the neoclassical body, I lend my voice to the subtleties of human experience, to the pre-operations of abjection, of self-objectification, and mortality anxiety. Though trained in painting, my work primarily engages informal materials and mixed media painting, as well as fiber and photography.
Hayla Ragland was born in Henderson, Kentucky in 1995. In 2018, she will receive a BFA in Studio Art and a BA in Psychology from University of Kentucky, where she is both an Honors Student and John R. Gaines Fellow for the Humanities. Prior to 2016, the artist’s practice privileged research in psychology, including work at the Markey Cancer Center, the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, and the School of Art and Visual Studies, where she was a research assistant for The Impact of a Visual Arts Education (VAE), Pedagogical Strategy on Quality of Life for Individuals with Early Stage Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia & their Caregivers. In 2017, Ragland exhibited at Loudon House in Lexington, Kentucky, the Carey Elis Juried Exhibition, and a group photography exhibition, entitled “Iron Harvest of Zone Rogue.” She has received the Theophilia Joan Oexmann Original Art Award, the Ross Zirkle Memorial Art Studio Award, in addition to European and Chinese travel grants from the University of Kentucky.