JO HAY - Rabbits


Jo Hay Rabbit Habit

Jo Hay Bravehearts


The rabbit paintings, which I also consider portraits, are a place for me to find new ways of constructing a living figure without being concerned with facial likeness or gender. Instead I am forced to closely examine each rabbit's physical differences to make the portrait unique. Ultimately, this focused study of anatomy allows me to have greater control over the looseness of the paintwork. Having had a lifetime connection with the rabbit as a symbol of comfort, both it’s familiarity and its fecundity seems to willingly support my continual experimentation with mark making while allowing me time and space to contemplate my unequivocal belief in animal consciousness.

- Jo Hay


Inspired by the current political stance of the United States government with regard to the fate of the planet, 'Bravehearts' is an exhibition of rabbit paintings that recognizes the steadfast and critical efforts of environmental activists both past and present throughout the world. Each human individual acknowledged was chosen simply because of their particular path to activism, their method of protest, or the outstanding outcome of their resolute labors as it appealed to me at this moment in my own life.

       “At first I thought I was fighting to save rubber
        trees, then I thought I was fighting to save
        the Amazon rain forest. Now I realize I am
        fighting for humanity.” — Chico Mendes

The rabbit has always been a symbol of great comfort to me but I also wish to align its association with fertility, abundance and hope to ideas or causes that I feel should not be silenced but instead fully celebrated and supported.

‘Bravehearts’, continues the theme of acknowledgement of exceptional human accomplishment that began in Hay’s 2016 solo show entitled ‘First Ladies’—a celebration of remarkable women who overcame the odds to became first in their chosen field. 


Jo Hay is a contemporary British American portrait painter whose work focuses on acknowledging human courage characterized by those who dare to stand up and express who they are or what they believe.

Originally from Newcastle Upon-Tyne, England, Hay lives and works in Provincetown MA. She received her BA from Middlesex University, London, UK and her MFA from the New York Academy of Art, NY, NY.

Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Provincetown Arts Magazine, The Boston Globe, Time Out NY, Provincetown Banner, Provincetown Magazine, Bedford Magazine and Art Galleries and Artists of the South.

Hay was the first recipient of the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation Grant 2010 sponsored in part by the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and the recipient of the New York Academy of Art Portrait Scholarship 2011. Her portrait from her Benders series entitled Dodger was a semi-finalist in the BP Portrait Award 2015 at the National Gallery in London.

Currently Hay is working on her series entitled Benders which are large-scaled oil paintings of individuals who consider themselves of neither fixed male or female gender but instead gender fluid.

Inspired by the current political climate Hay is also developing a series of large-scale portraits of women who are making outstanding efforts with regard to human rights.  



2017 Bravehearts

2016 Rabbit Habit