While these ramshackle huts may seem like they were transported straight from the backwoods, they're actually site-specific installations built by Portland, Maine artist Ethan Hayes-Chute. Since 2008, Hayes-Chute has been building these quirky huts, hermitages and shacks while exploring themes of self-sufficiency, self-preservation and self-exclusion. Built completely out of salvaged wood, found materials and vintage and antique goods, the huts are piecemeal - as though they were constructed slowly over time. Hayes-Chutes builds these shacks inside museums and galleries so visitors can tour through them and experience a mode of living that is normally inaccessible.
In recent years, Hayes-Chute has propelled his work from miniature sculptures of shacks into amazing life size models of self-made abodes. Hayes-Chute envisions the homes as being built slowly over time as materials are found. Each installation is a museum of artifacts and collected goods. They are messy, dusty and disorganized and as a visitor one is meant to feel as though you have come upon the home when its owner is out. Here is your chance to see how a hermit in the woods might live.
His recent installations have been displayed in Portland, Norway, Berlin and most recently Maine, where the hand-made shacks explore themes of self-sufficiency. How does one live alone, building a home completely from found materials? The shacks may have been only temporary at first, but over time became permanent. Besides these abodes, his shows also include a series of drawings and small-scale sculptures that explore the same themes.
All of the wood, knick-knacks, furniture and parts for the shacks are found, reclaimed and salvaged. Says Hayes-Chute, “For the structure of these works in particular, I concentrate on harvesting lumber from abandoned woodpiles, dumpsters, construction sites, recycling centers, and the basements, garages and barns of friends and family.” All sorts of materials are considered and the designs and final construction rely on material availability, size and shape. The installations and the objects included are designed specifically to transcend eras and decades – antiques could easily be placed next to modern day objects as though the hermit had just found something new.
Images ©Ethan Hayes-Chute