‘Generation Earth’ paintings tell stories in natural pigments

Painting of a woman stirring a large clay pot with another small pot and vase nearby.
“La Mujer” by Alexander Fals

“Generation Earth” is a new exhibit by Alexander Fals and Hayley Dayis opening Saturday, July 13, at the Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 on the first floor of the main FLCC campus.

The artists will be available for informal discussion on Saturday, July 13 from 4 to 6:30 p.m.

A reception will be held on Aug. 29 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Watch events.flcc.edu for details.

Through the summer, the Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34 is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday; and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

A painting of a naked women, seen from the back, sitting in a mountainous terrain and holding an orb of light
“Hope” by Hayley Dayis

Alexander and Hayley work with foraged mineral pigments sourced from volcanic soils in the region of Cauca, Colombia. Both Finger Lakes natives, they discovered the art of natural pigment painting at different points along their journeys.

Alexander was born in Naples in 1990 to Lauren Sherwood of Naples and Roberto Fals of Popayán, Colombia. At 17, he spent a year as an exchange student, living with his grandfather, Dr. Jaime Fals Borda, in Colombia. He returned to New York to study environmental conservation at FLCC.

“As a young man I was deeply moved by the unique painting practices of my family in Cauca, Colombia. Even though my Uncle Billy died before I could meet him, when I looked at his natural pigment paintings I saw an undeniable element of myself within them,” Alexander says.

A geometric pattern of triangles inside circles in muted colors
“Circles” by Alexander Fals

Hayley was born in Rochester in 1992 and was raised in an artistic and intellectual family that pushed her to think critically about the status quo. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and literature from Purchase College in 2014, Hayley traveled extensively throughout the United States and Mexico, and in the process discovered her passion for painting as a way to visually log her experiences and discoveries. In 2017, after attending an event in Mexico that raised awareness about water pollution, Hayley became interested in finding non-chemical painting methods. This search led her to her partner, Alexander.

“In a world of fast-paced responsibilities and expectations, art is my refuge of safety, rejuvenation and self expression,” Hayley says. “Painting slows the world down to the speed of my imagination.”

A painting showing a smoking volcano and airplane above a naked woman lying in the foreground reflected in an mirror image below with a row of blooming flowers at the bottom
“Change” by Hayley Dayis

Alexander and Hayley consider clay and earth pigment paints to be the highest quality paints that even money can’t buy, and they appreciate most of all the meaning that is derived from foraging it themselves directly from the ground and knowing where the colors of each brushstroke originated.

They currently offer natural pigment painting workshops each summer/fall in Rochester. Workshops include a presentation on their pigment collection processes in Colombia, and information on how to respectfully forage for natural pigments anywhere on the planet.

“Each winter I live in Cauca, Colombia foraging volcanic soils by hand and processing them into paint. I unearth each color from cliff sides, highways, construction sites and riverbeds, and use them to tell stories of land and humanity on canvas,” Hayley adds. “Each piece is an earthen container for the parts of us that need love, safety and rest.”

“The colors I paint with are, like my uncle’s, made from pigment that I take directly from the earth in Colombia,” Alexander says. “They are dried, ground, sifted to a fine matrix and diluted in clean water and a biodegradable adhesive. With these colors I paint the innermost visions of my heart.”

Author: Lenore Friend

Lenore Friend is the director of public relations and communications at FLCC and the college's liaison with Finger Lakes TV. Contact her at (585) 785-1623 or Lenore.Friend@flcc.edu.

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