Ivey Hayes Exhibit Opens at NCCU Art Museum

North Carolina Central University will celebrate the work of artist and NCCU alumnus Ivey Hayes with the opening of an exhibit, “Ivey Hayes: A Retrospective,” on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m. at the NCCU Art Museum. The exhibit will run through April 20.

Hayes was born in Rocky Point, N.C., a small rural community near Wilmington, and his work is inextricably linked to the community and its rustic character. Hayes’ uses of watercolor and acrylic processes are central to his working method, and they cross cultural divides using universal themes.

“Few painters from this area of eastern North Carolina have dealt so fully with the landscape and its people,” said Kenneth Rodgers, director of the NCCU Art Museum. “Everyone is amazed that Hayes creates such stylized and imaginative images, and does it despite serious arthritis.”

Taking as a point of departure student works from 1969, the exhibit presents works from Hayes’ earliest realistic landscapes and portraits. Also included are watercolors from his series on Native Americans and his self-described ‘visionary’ period. These works pay homage to Africa with a geometric-abstract figural expression. Visitors will also see current colorful, large-scale acrylic pieces that emphasize exaggerated figures. These include musicians, dancers, cotton and peanut pickers, quilters and people fishing.

The show is the first museum exhibit of Hayes in the Triangle in more than three decades.

During his career, Hayes has received regional and national recognition. His work has been exhibited throughout the state and in solo shows in New York City, and Washington, D.C. In 2006, Hayes was featured at Wilmington’s Louise Wells Cameron Museum in a major exhibit of works by African-American artists, alongside the works of Romare Bearden, Big Al Carter, Minnie Evans and Faith Ringgold. His work has been shown on the Charlie Rose Show, at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda and on WUNC-TV’s “Our State.”

He has won numerous awards for his work, including the Presidential and Celebrity awards at the North Carolina Azalea Festival Master Arts Exhibit in Wilmington. In 2006, he was honored with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his artistic achievements and contributions to the state. He also created the art work for the first annual North Carolina Blueberry Festival.

Hayes is a 1970 graduate of NCCU and received the Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1975.

The NCCU Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from 2 to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call the museum at 530-6211.