30" x 22" Cut-paper collage by Niki Haynes ©2014
The video below (created by Steve Rein and Niki Haynes) contains elements from "Culture Consumed", an exhibition that ran from July 14 to October 20, 2019 at The Arts Center in Troy NY. Music is "In Dark Trees" by Brian Eno.
Niki Haynes’ compositions, both compact and voluminous, strike with immediate and resounding visual impact, sending the viewer tumbling through an endless stream of consumer detritus. Whether in black and white or technicolor, the mesmerizing effect is similar. The collages in this exhibition are far from being simple cautionary tales of over-consumption. The seduction of these rich entanglements carries the recognition that they contain the emblems of what our culture has led itself to believe and value most; perceived power, status, fulfillment and satisfaction through the quick fix of convenience along the path of least resistance.
The pieces reflect upon circumstances which surround us, revealing our complicity in the assault while encouraging our objectivity, as evidenced by their incisive titles. While some of these works trace a direct appeal from corporate entities to individual consumers, others examine the role of government agencies in promoting the consumption of products and substances for which they issue approvals and regulations. Haynes shows concern, too, for the way in which advertisers seek to influence children’s tastes and desires (and thereby shape their adult brand loyalties). The seemingly playful landscapes, upon closer inspection, reveal a sly dissonance behind their carefree facades.
Haynes is an ardent collector and archivist of printed ephemera, and her work reveals a concentrated process of gleaning, sifting and cataloging. The small, meticulously hand-cut images are treasures in and of themselves, though in concert with one another, they shine a light into the shadows of our cultural identity. We are quite literally what we eat, drink, smoke, drive, wear, watch, and fear. The Culture Consumed series is the culmination of a body of work which spans the last 15 years. Her intention has been for each piece to stand alone but ultimately resonate together to identify and acknowledge our collective consumption and all it entails, encouraging us to stand back and absorb the big picture, adjust and re-approach.
Niki Haynes is an artist residing in Troy, NY. Her artwork is a commentary on consumer culture and an exploration of social mores. Her early exposure to a community of artists encouraged Haynes to develop her own visual vocabulary. She was raised between two divergent worlds: the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the 1960s & 70s with her mother, contrasted against her years with her father on a commune in the mountains of Colorado, without running water or electricity. This dichotomy has fueled her art; the radical, mind-expanding culture of artists juxtaposed with the realities of poverty and the basic needs of everyday living.
In New York City, she attended Music & Art High School and later The Cooper Union for studies in fine art. Haynes moved to San Francisco where she earned a living as a creative for film, television and commercial photography projects while continuing to create her artwork. Returning to the East coast, she created a dedicated arts space where her meticulously crafted collections of paper ephemera could then feed her collaged visions.
PO Box 628, Troy NY 12181