Haynes Galleries presents “The Magic of Realism”
October 10 to November 30, 2019


FRANKLIN— This fall Haynes Galleries is shining a light on possibilities in contemporary realism. In a special collaboration with The Art Renewal Center, Haynes Galleries presents “The Magic of Realism,” a group exhibition of paintings by a select group of contemporary artists, from October 10 to November 30, 2019 just outside of Nashville.

All the original paintings in “The Magic of Realism” were selected from The Art Renewal Center’s 2019 Salon Competition, a yearly juried exhibition that is the largest and most prestigious competition in the world for realist artists. They were chosen by Haynes Galleries founder and exhibition curator Gary R. Haynes because they had that extra ‘something.’ “I was looking for works with imagination, with a different twist, and a strong narrative. I was looking for that combination of intangibles that pushed them above and beyond. The combination of all of this creates magic.”

Haynes found that in a select but wide ranging group of paintings, from naturalistic studies of the human form to poetic versions of historical events to invented and impossible scenes. These works celebrate that contemporary realism is a movement that is alive and well, and growing strong.

Portraits and figural paintings are represented by several diverse artists. Sookyi Lee’s tender and intimate White Gown is as much a monochromatic vision of a young woman as an exercise in gestural brushstrokes. Sensuality is at the forefront in Anastasia Firenze’s paintings, many featuring women draped in thin fabric and in repose. And Lucas Bononi’s Aptekareva puts a colorful, floral, and in-your-face take on contemporary portraiture.

Fragmented and unfinished could be used to describe Ron Hicks’ figural paintings but these purposeful explorations of shape, value, edges and texture in paintings like Thirsty are unique visual avenues.

Bryony Bensly uses magical realism in her figurative paintings to reference myths and legends, and to give a voice to those who cannot speak. Seraphim features a young boy, delicate golden halo encircling his head, holding the seas and earth, protecting them within his arms.

For painter Mark Heine, a particular figure from mythology, the siren, has inspired a whole series and evolving narrative centered around this dangerous and mysterious woman. Envoy is one carefully chosen moment from the larger story—a moment of light and shadow, action and tension.

Jonathan Hodge invoked one of the nation’s most memorable natural disasters, Hurricane Katrina, to contemplate a range of human emotions and conditions— tragedy, hope, survival, and danger— in a scene of people making their way through flood waters.

The limits of the natural world fade away in Mark Larson’s high concept paintings of animals interacting like In the Tropics. It’s an exotic take on Renaissance ceiling frescos, where arctic animals like a polar bear and seals encounter jungle counterparts including a jaguar and parrots, all set amongst trompe l’oeil architectural elements.

Lucia Heffernan has also used animal life for her vision that draws on art history and economics. Her “American Gothic”-inspired Wall Street Gothic replaces the farmer and his daughter with a bear and bull standing in front of the New York Stock Exchange instead of the family home.

Realism today can be any number of styles and scenes. It can speak of true events, the world around us, or things most could never imagine. The shackles of the moniker “realism” have long since been broken. “The Magic of Realism” is a collection with artists using realism to express a variety of ideas by unexpected and exceptional means. Their paintings are telling stories, igniting conversations, and expressing beauty in new, compelling ways.