The gallery is proud to announce its fourth solo exhibition with American painter Kirk Hayes, whom the gallery has represented for a decade.

In some ways, Hayes' paintings are best understood within the comedic tradition of self-deprecation. While comparisons have been made to historic painters like trompe l'oeil master John F. Peto and Philip Guston, to who Hayes is clearly indebted for his figurative style and palette, perhaps a more fitting lineage is that of Rodney Dangerfield or Louis C.K. In Hayes' paintings aging, depression, failure, and mortality are all softened by playfulness and dark humor.

In Death Mask Sitting with Cigar (2016), we see the likeness of the artist on his back with a smoking cigar in one hand while seemingly content with the melting pie-in-the-face. Old Artist Pissing At The Moon (2016) shows a defeated protagonist with a dribble down the paint-stained pant leg as a golden moon in the night sky becomes an unachievable target. In an attempt to get the last word on life, a bone-thin, tattered arm emerges to give the finger from a dark grave in Brief Comment (2016).

And while the images offer a glimpse into the artist's inner life, it is his ability to exploit the expectations between a painting's dumbness and sophistication that ultimately delivers the most baffling of punch lines. To quote the artist Trenton Doyle Hancock: "For the first time viewer not yet let in on the joke, there is usually a period of examination that leads to a comment about primitivism or the ephemerality of material. In those moments, we are being toyed with and being played for the fool. It's easy to put a fence around Hayes' vision with the presumption that one is looking at actual scraps and discarded elements glued or nailed to wood. We fall victim to the farce, because no one expects to see such raw subject matter treated with such sophistication. No one expects to be the lesser in that kind of visual power play. No one expects the paint."

Kirk Hayes (b. 1958, Fort Worth, TX) lives and works in Fort Worth, TX. In addition to Horton Gallery, his work has been featured in exhibitions at the Nerman Musuem of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX; and The Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, OH. His work is included in public collections such as the Dallas Museum of Contemporary Art, Dallas TX; The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS. Hayes is a recent recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant. His work has been discussed in Art in America and The New York Times, among others.