Alex Hay’s, Legal Pad Sheet, was completed in 1967 when Hay’s was thirty seven. The materials used to make this work of art were spray lacquer, which is a clear/colored synthetic plastic or pigment mixture that gives a high gloss to surfaces, and stencil on linen. The subject matter is exactly what the title is, a sheet of legal pad paper. It is superrealistic and easily recognizable as a legal pad sheet. The psychological emotions conveyed through this work of art are both overwhelming and loving. It was made at such a large size that one must look up to completely see the piece. Its larger than life proportions make it so that the viewer must step back to see the piece as a whole because it is at least eight feet high. The work of art has low value contrast but is done with a high intensity yellow color. This work could be considered monochromatic due to the fact that the other colors are hardly visible. Hay’s stencils every detail to portray this legal pad paper to make it seem as if it isn’t even a brand new piece of paper but rather an old, worn sheet. Even the watermark is faintly shown.
I believe Hays’ intentions were to put obvious time and effort into an every day object that most people would not think about. He does this with many of his other works and I believe it to be because of that time period. With everything going on, war, new technologies, and other dramatic social changes, simple things were being taken for granted. Hay’s was born in 1930 which was around the great depression and I believe that he understood the importance of every day objects and wanted to convey that message to others. He shows formal qualities of every day objects, in this instance a sheet of legal pad paper, in a superrealistic, minimalistic, pop art way. By portraying this piece of paper as worn and old instead of brand new and bright yellow, he is showing his idea’s of this forgotten object.
However, because this work of art is literally just a legal pad sheet and nothing else, there isn’t anything that reveals the artists intentions towards the viewers. When first viewing this work of art, viewers are complacent in their way of thinking but with further scrutiny, deeper meanings are understood.
When looking at this work of art, in a strange way it reminds me of school. The absurdly large size of a legal pad paper reminds me of what someone would feel when faced with school, as I am at this time. However, the loving detail of which this work of art was rendered makes me believe that while it can be overwhelming, it is necessary to ensure your future. Alex Hay’s work of art has made me start to consider the importance and the beauty of every day objects that most people would not ever take a second look at. Instead of just seeing something just as it is, Hay’s sees these objects as if they were already works of art. He portrays them as if they were actual works of art so that other people can see them as works of art and not just what they are.