Haynes Galleries presents
“Celebrating the Portrait as Timeless Art”
June 27 to July 26, 2014
Reception: Friday, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., June 27, 2014


THOMASTON- Haynes Galleries opens the summer season with “Celebrating the Portrait as Timeless Art,” a diverse collection of works by today’s most exciting contemporary Realists. The exhibit will be on view from June 27 to July 26 at Haynes Galleries, 91 Main Street in Thomaston. An opening reception will take place on Friday, June 27 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Both the exhibit and the reception are free and open to the public.

Some art lovers are hesitant to collect portraits. Why would I want a painting of someone I don’t know, they usually ask themselves. But the portraiture being produced by today’s top Realists is much more than a picture of a person. The contemporary portraiture in Haynes Galleries’ show is as expressive, thoughtful, and engaging as any landscape or still life. They are stand alone pieces of fine art that can be interpreted and admired, regardless of the viewer’s relationship to the subject. In fact, after experiencing “Celebrating the Portrait as Timeless Art” viewers will most likely leave the gallery feeling they have formed a new connection.

“Young, innovative artists on the rise and established gallery favorites are at the core of this show. The mix of styles and approaches is very exciting,” says gallery owner Gary R. Haynes. “But the portraits all capture much more than a likeness — they capture mood, essence and emotion. Artists like Gregory Mortenson,Victoria Novak, and TJ Cunningham are certainly technically gifted but their work is also creatively and expressively fresh.”

Today’s most accomplished Realists acknowledge the history of the genre but forge their own style. Gregory Mortenson, a Grand Central Academy of Art graduate, relishes painting portraits. He gives his subjects a breathtaking sense of presence. Although Mortenson paints in a traditional style, his portraits are modern and inviting. In Underground Busk his subject is a classically trained artist as well but in music instead of art. She’s been forced to “busk” for a living, performing in public places for tips. Mortenson’s work is a study in contrasts — at once timeless and timely, refined and gritty, exalting and melancholy.

Victoria Novak’s oil paintings have a tight, polished style, reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance works that fostered her love of art. She’s adopted the time honored techniques of those masters but gives her portraits a more contemporary context. With an incredible attention to detail, color, and form, Victoria’s portraits are odes to drama and beauty.

In Insight, Nancy Depew combines her love for painting figures and nature. Bathed in soft light and surrounded by blooming flowers, Depew’s subject is beautifully rendered but the woman’s suggested mindset is the heart of the piece. Depew skillfully manipulates pose, gesture, and point of view, conveying feeling and emotion in addition to producing an exquisitely crafted work of art.

At the other end of the spectrum, TJ Cunningham’s work evokes John Singer Sargent in the best possible way. His painterly portraits are both technically strong and emotionally insightful, making the viewer feel as though he knows the subject personally. A recent finalist at the International Portrait Competition, TJ carefully observes his subjects, revealing the grace in every scene.

Portraits in three dimensions will also be featured. American sculptress Alicia Ponzio, whose received numerous accolades for her bronzes, infuses life into each cast portrait. In Irving and Searching for the Present, Ponzio’s skill for lending a sense of motion and emotion in cold bronze is apparent.

“Celebrating the Portrait as Timeless Art” is a credit to the genre, showcasing a great depth of emotion and the range of styles in which today’s top Realists work. These are more than just pretty faces. More than an homage. Each is a narrative waiting to be told.