Copyright 2002 The Hartford Courant Company
THE HARTFORD COURANT
January 7, 2002 Monday, STATEWIDE
SECTION: LIFE; Pg. D1
LENGTH: 415 words
BYLINE: By DAN UHLINGER; Courant Staff Writer
Artwork is like a delicious stew -- it takes time.
"You have to let it cook slowly. The French have a word for it. They say 'mijouter' [pronounced mee-jew-tay]. You have to let it gestate. That's the way the idea should develop," said sculptor David Hayes of Coventry. The stew of Hayes' latest work began as a sketch at his kitchen table.
"Stalactite" is a vertical motif made of 18 pieces of 1/8-inch-thick burnished stainless steel welded in a shape that compels the viewer to walk around and look at it from all angles. The 200-pound work will be suspended by cable in the atrium of a Staten Island building.
Hayes' abstract steel structures, which frequently evoke nature or human forms, have been slowly dotting the landscape at his 10-acre property and elsewhere for more than four decades.
The vertical motifs, polychromatic and screen sculptures are displayed in permanent exhibitions outside the Hartford Public Library, the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, at Gund Hall at Harvard University and in museums and private collections.
The series is a Renaissance concept, using sculpture to enliven modern buildings and public places. The sculptures have also been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum in New York and the National Museum of American Art in Washington.
The "Stalactite" project was begun last January, after Hayes discussed it with Richard Nicotra, a New York developer who owns the Staten Island building and commissioned the work.
Hayes, who is 69 years old, says the sculpture, like much of his work, evolved from a sketch to cardboard models fairly quickly. But then the model may sit and simmer for a long time as he ponders what it might eventually look like. Frequently, several more models are made, and later they are all presented to the client, who decides on a final shape.
To help him create a sculpture, Hayes will study the blueprints of a building where the artwork is planned and may even travel to the site.
From the initial model, Hayes constructs another cardboard model that is built to scale and used by a metal fabricator for cutting the steel sheets, which are assembled and welded into the final shape.
In the South Windsor metal-fabricating plant where he usually works, Hayes stands back and studies the sculpture before it is packed in plastic bubble wrap and shipped by truck.
"I wanted to make something that the eye could look at in an animated fashion," he said.
GRAPHIC: PHOTOS: (3COLOR), STEPHEN DUNN / THE HARTFORD COURANT;
PHOTOS: "STALACTITE," a sculpture by David Hayes, hangs
from a crane at East Windsor Welding and Fabrication Co. in South
Windsor, where it was assembled. At top, Hayes turns away as John
Hughes, East Windsor Welding president, welds. Top right, Fransesco
Gandiago, a fabricator/welder at the company, uses a heli-arc
welder to engrave Hayes' signature on the sculpture.