Client: The Compound, The Farm at Wellville, The Halles
Location: Round Top , TX, United States
Completion date: 2021
Artwork budget: $30,000
Piper Faust Public Art
Lowell Ryan Project
Rachel Hayes created Slant of Light, a site-specific, multi-part public art installation in her signature vibrant fabrics during the month of March for the world-famous Round Top Spring Antique Show. Twice a year thousands of people descend on the tiny Texas town, population 90, for two weeks to hunt for treasures at this festival of epic proportions. Slant of Light marked Hayes’ first project for Texas, as well as the debut of Round Top’s public art program, curated by Piper Faust Public Art.
Hayes created multiple groupings of works installed outdoors at three venues, The Compound, The Halles and The Farm at Wellville. The artworks utilized brilliant colors executed in various fabrics including organza, polyester, and cotton, while exploring textiles inspired by the location such as heirloom lace-encrusted handkerchiefs and vintage table linens. Hayes interest lies in inserting color and form into both built and natural environments using scale and the inherent responsiveness of the delicate fabric to create reflective experiences and inset a feminist perspective into land art.
As Round Top's first public art project, the primary goal was to insert a fine art element into the existing activities at each of the three venues, adding interest, beauty and wander to the sites, as well as drawing new audiences to Round Top. Hayes approached each intervention like different bodies of work. At each site, the barns, the windmill, the trees, and the grassy landscape served as the architecture of the space and dictated what was possible. Rachel only used anchor points that were immediately available, no outside structure sor supports were used. The wind and sun also impacted the placement of the artworks, giving breadth and dimension to the textile interventions. “This is the exciting part for me, because there is always something unexpectedly beautiful to come out of that spontaneous interaction,” said Hayes.
As the initiator of this installation, it was very important to select an artist who would have a sensitivity to the rural setting and an appreciation of the antiquing tradition that make Round Top, TX a destination in the design world. Rachel Hayes is a natural fit as her artwork not only complements the natural environment, but it enhances elements that a viewer may not have noticed before. From the materials and colors she selects for the panels, to the way she hangs the artwork to reflect light, every part of her process is intentional. Each sponsor allowed Rachel complete freedom to react, respond and address the sites without limitation. Trust was a major factor in the collaborative relationship between artist, curator and sponsors, as the first collective venture into a large-scale public art installation.