The british figurative painter Jo Hay is known for large-scale paintings that explore sexuality, gender, and identity. I met Jo in the 90s when we both worked in the art department of Allure magazine. I saw her recently and she told me about her new work which is having a moment, not only because it’s Easter.
The show, Rabbitude, opened last Sunday and it marks a bit of a departure from her usual portraits,
“I initially imagined the rabbit paintings would be purely experimental. I very quickly realized that they are equally relevant portraits in themselves.
My mother gave me a soft toy rabbit on the day I was born that I still have today… aside from being a symbol of great comfort, I see traits of the rabbit personality in my own, especially when making paintings. I relate to their alert, edgy energy and the constant vigilance required to always remain nimble enough to get in and out of fluctuating situations.
I have found when painting living creatures that there is an alchemical moment that occurs usually in the middle of the painting. It is no longer just a set of particular paint marks but instead the image suddenly feels alive to the point that I experience a quietly disarming sense of it taking a breath.”
Rabbitude runs through May 1 2016 at the Lionheart Gallery, 27 Westchester Ave Pound Ridge, New York.