Sylvie Hayes-Wallace the Side Room
Chapter NY is excited to present Sylvie Hayes-Wallace’s solo exhibition, Locked from the Inside. The exhibition includes three artworks installed around the periphery and thresholds of the space in a site-specific installation.

Driven by a desire to map her inner self onto the spaces and structures of her surroundings, Hayes-Wallace explores the architecture of self. She mimics aspects of her own interiority in external space and form, often using the measurements of her own body as a guiding parameter. Her works evolve from memories, layering personal ephemera and familiar materials at various densities that correspond to her own psychological weight and its levels of inscrutability. The artist combines these delicate, often intimately-scaled materials with an overt sense of precarity. Whether in the form of cages, curtains, or collage, her sculptural compositions all convey elements of portraiture without direct representation, probing the question: how does one make a self-portrait without showing oneself?

The title of the exhibition, Locked from the Inside, emphasizes a sense of claustrophobia and containment felt throughout the work in the show. Almost imperceptible at first, a delicate curtain of steel wire and obsessively hand-cut orange peels spans the windows of the gallery. Reminiscent of beaded curtains that might adorn the doorframe of a girl’s bedroom, Hayes-Wallace’s Security similarly performs a false sense of privacy, ineffectually shielding the viewer from the outside world while symbolically enclosing the exhibition space.

Caryatid (Self-Portrait) furthers this element of confinement with three wall-mounted cages that reflect the proportions of the artist’s head and two feet. Installed to match her own height, the work references ancient Greek columns in the shape of women’s bodies. Inspired by their wet drapery, Hayes-Wallace lines each cage with tulle, a stereotypically feminine material intended to veil the female figure while accentuating her skin and nakedness. The translucent tulle within Hayes-Wallace’s cages both reveal and conceal the void spaces they hold.

Forming an architectural skin at the entrance/exit of Hayes-Wallace’s exhibition, My Interiority (My Dictator) compiles collaged ephemera on two walls in a vertical orientation that doubles as a second, nonfunctional column. As teen girls decorate their spaces with collaged images as an outlet of self-expression, the artist charts numerous cultural references that comprise her own sense of self. She lays bare the contents of her inner mind, creating a spatialization of the fragmented experience of the interior.

Hayes-Wallace’s works cling to the periphery of the gallery, reiterating the enclosure of the space. Confined within the show but crowding the exterior walls and thresholds, the works mimic how one’s internal self inhabits one’s physical body—trapped but permeating the exterior world in traces and fragments.

Sylvie Hayes-Wallace (b. 1994, Cincinnati, Ohio) lives and works in New York, NY. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2017. She has had solo and two-person exhibitions at In Extenso, Clermont-Ferrand, France; A.D. Gallery, New York; Bad Water, Knoxville; Interstate Projects, Brooklyn; and New Works, Chicago; among others. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Chapter NY, New York; Simone Subal Gallery, New York; King’s Leap Fine Arts, New York; Annex de Odelon, Ridgewood; MX Gallery, New York; and Frontera 115, Mexico City; among others. Hayes-Wallace will have a solo exhibition at Silke Linder, New York, opening September 2024.