Sculptor joins husband in Tulsa Artist Fellowship.
Rachel Hayes works on a piece in her Tulsa studio.
After meeting as students at the Kansas City Art Institute, Rachel Hayes and her husband, Eric Sall, have worked side-by-side pursuing their artistic talents for the past 20 years. Sall, a painter, was accepted to the inaugural class of Tulsa Artist Fellows in 2016, and this year Hayes officially joins the group in January for a three-year residency in fiber and sculpting.
From her studio in the Brady Arts District, she explores fabrics, sewing, quilt making, fashion design and other forms of crafting. Hayes describes herself as a “blender,” a sculptor who is “color-oriented” but also loves the history attached to fiber and craft art.
“I’ve always been attracted to painting, and I look to it for formal aesthetics of color and composition,” she says. “I exert a lot of power through large-scale pieces, but the materials and processes are traditional and feminine.”
A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Hayes earned a Master of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in painting, and although her art is more physical and gestural than her husband’s, their styles complement each other.
“It’s nice to be married to someone who never stops generating ideas,” she says. “We’ve evolved our practice together. It’s all intertwined.”
Their careers have led to stops in New York City; Iowa City, Iowa; and Roswell, New Mexico, but Hayes says Tulsa is ideal for their two young children.
“I love that we’re slowly becoming part of the community through this fellowship,” she says. “Inviting artists from around the country is going to affect this place, and people like us are going to stay.”
The Tulsa Artist Fellowship presents “Syncretic,” the first curated art exhibition of the 2016 class of TAF visual artists, on display through Jan. 22 at 108 Contemporary, 108 E. M. B. Brady St. A panel discussion will be at 6 p.m., Jan. 12. Dr. Louise Siddons, Oklahoma State University assistant professor, will lead the discussion, which is sponsored by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and 108 Contemporary. tulsaartistfellowship.org, 108contemporary.org