Brooklyn based artist and landscape designer Paula Hayes began fusing her masters degree in sculpture with her love of gardening in a small East Village 5th floor walk up in the early 1990s. It was there she developed her signature terrarium sculptural pieces, which are now on display in the exhibition, “Nocturne of the Limax Maximus,” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Hayes’ Nocturne features two pieces called “Slug” and “Egg”. Each terrarium sculpture is cast from milky iridescent acrylic and hand blown glass. Slug stretches and seems to slither in a globby horizontal trail, fifteen feet along the wall in MoMA’s atrium, outside of the gift shop. Egg is suspended vertically, and supported by stalactites and stalagmites of acrylic resin that seem to reach to meet and hold the terrarium in place.
Inside each translucent and organic-shaped vessel is home to a miniature forest of lush plant life that has been “landscaped” to create an idyllic oasis within its tiny glass confines. The exhibition was commissioned especially for the winter months, sprouting life and tranquil greenery for the lobby in the face of freezing conditions just outside.
Hayes’ living art is no stranger to the art world. She created an outdoor garden installation for the prominent Marianne Boesky Gallery in the summer of 2009, an indoor forest in the Tang Museum, and has an upcoming show at the Wexner Center. Her personal work also includes “living necklaces” (personal terrariums work around the neck), cast planters, bird baths and bird houses. She is also know for her private art gardens around New York City, in addition to commissioned landscapes for the W Hotel in Miami.