Hayley Quentin (b.1986, Los Angeles) attended Otis College of Art and Design, receiving a B.F.A. cum laude in 2008. After graduation she spent 7 years living and working in the UK and France before returning to Los Angeles in 2016.
Quentin’s work has been shown at multiple venues in Los Angeles including Lava Projects, CB1 Gallery, Big Pictures Los Angeles, and Soft.Core at the Museum of Broken Relationships. Quentin’s first solo exhibition, Myth, opened in February 2019 at Ro2 Art in Dallas, TX. Her work has also been featured in various art publications including Artillery, Create Magazine, Polluxzine, and Full Blede. Hayley lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
My paintings are a crystallization of the anticipation of touch– a frozen moment in time, drawn out into exquisite pleasure with infinite possibility. The act of looking is an act of imagination: a kiss, a touch, a desire. This is the lens through which the viewer sees the painted body; a visual state of longing and desire. Sexual expression, desire, longing – for me, these all begin with looking. Simply, I like to look at men, then recreate the pleasure of looking with the pleasure of painting, perhaps conflate the two, and then multiply this yet again when the viewer takes pleasure in looking at the paintings. And yet there is a division – not only in contemporary art but also contemporary culture – between who is allowed to take pleasure in looking and who is looked upon. Women are overwhelmingly put into the latter category: the vessel for the gaze. I am not a vessel; I am a woman. In my work I am flipping that cultural division by creating the image that is beheld, and it is an image of the male body. I am the eye: I behold.
Brushstroke by brushstroke, my selective application of color guides the viewer’s eye toward specific parts of the body, beckoning them to see the figure as I see it, inducing in them the same sense of desire that I feel. My work rests on the threshold between illusion and believability, perpetually on the cusp of breaking the spell. I depict the boundaries of this illusion through overly saturated colors, through flatness juxtaposed against painstaking realism, and through changes in thickness and application of the paint. Taken on their own, each element could be believable, if only for a moment, like a star in the dark before it disappears. I bring together process and subject to form a vision balanced on a knife-edge that is itself both razor-sharp and enticingly sweet. In so doing, my paintings challenge the conventional representation of male beauty and eroticism in art from an inherently female perspective.