2020 January Resident Interview: Jodi Hays
MHM: Much of your practice has been beautifully documented and catalogued throughout your career. In what ways does this creative record illuminate throughlines within your work?
JH: I have always relied heavily on daily practice, most consistently through sketchbooks. They have been a familiar container for over 25 years. The interest in artist books came for a few reasons; to honor the book form (as reading is another important part of my research), and in some cases, like Keeper (collaborators David King and writer Joe Nolan) I hoped to have a desirable, affordable component to my solo show of paintings.
Most recent books (on my site) are like recipe books, a context for my abstraction. I have divided these up into categories that have been consistent prompts: fragments, build, heaven, text. I made them as poetic (and affordable) extensions of and illuminations on my practice.
MHM: What are you reading right now? Could you describe any particular passages or themes that resonate with your current time in studio?
JH: I have been reading CD Wright’s poetry this winter. She is also a native of Arkansas. Steal Away and One with Others. I feel understood.
Ninth Street Women, reading with a few women artists for a book club.
In the fall I picked up White Girls by Hilton Als and read the essay on Flannery O’Connor called The Lonesome Place. I am still ruminating on how this essay begins to get at the frayed edges of a southern identity or habit, and the role of the writer/observer.
Others in rotation now: Spying on the South, Water Dancer, and stacks of books of poetry that are overdue but I’m glad our library no longer has fines.