Winslow Homer, Shepherdess, Charcoal on Paper
Frank Duveneck, Portrait of a Young Navajo Boy,
Pastel on Paper
N.C. (Newell Convers) Wyeth, Thoreau Fishing,
Charcoal on Paper
Doug Brega, Man of Kerry, Watercolor on Paper
Ruth Bernhard, Golden Light, Rare Color
Haynes Galleries Celebrates American Realism:
Works on Paper, 1862-2011
Exhibition Features Almost A Century And A Half of Works on Paper by American Masters Homer, Sargent, Wyeth, Rockwell; Contemporary Realists Young, Brega, Karsh and More.
THOMASTON, Maine — Works on paper are a beautiful conundrum. Yes, a photograph, drawing or watercolor can be as enduring as the finest oil, as detailed as the most complex egg tempera. But there’s a sense of spontaneity inherent to the medium that gives works on paper a certain spirit all their own.
Haynes Galleries of Thomaston, Maine, celebrates that spirit in “American Realism: Works on Paper, 1862-2011” a diverse, sweeping survey that includes old and new masters. The exhibit is on view from July 1 to Aug. 4, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 1.
There is something personal and immediate that is unique to paper. It’s as if the viewer is able to watch the artist’s creative process unfold. In some cases, notes, scribbles, eraser smudges, even a stray fingerprint serve as evidence of the artist’s hand and mind at work. In others, a finished watercolor or photograph captures a light, a translucency that another medium simply cannot.
“With some artists, there’s a looseness, a freedom, but with others, the works are finished and very detailed,” says gallery owner Gary Haynes. “You can get the best of both worlds.”
The best of both worlds is exactly what this show promises. Haynes has assembled a range of work that is impressive in its breadth and depth. A selection of Winslow Homer’s letters, wood engravings and original drawings — the earliest of which dates to 1862 — serves as the exhibit’s cornerstone.
From there, it builds — and surprises. With the sensuality of a nude by John Singer Sargent. The drama of Yousuf Karsh’s black and white portraits, which evoke Vermeer in their lighting and composition. The exuberance of Jamie Wyeth’s sketch of Arnold Schwarzenegger on a piece of corrugated cardboard. The shimmer of John Guider’s platinum palladium print Statue of Liberty.
Among the highlights are Everett Raymond Kinstler’s serigraph of Portugal’s craggy coastline — an uncommon piece in an unusual medium. Cindy House’s moody, majestic landscapes achieve a breathtaking level of detail with an unforgiving medium: pastel. Perhaps most striking are the portraits and figure pieces. The artist Andrew Winter stares from Keith Shaw Williams’ page, young and pensive. Burton Silverman’s portraits embody the very best of what a watercolor can be — a daub here, a wash there, giving way to precise strokes that make the subjects seem to rise from the paper.
Though some consider works on paper studies or sketches leading up to a finished painting,this exhibit will cause viewers to reconsider the medium. With a roster of artists that reads like a who’s who of 19th, 20th and 21st century American Realism, Haynes Galleries proves that works on paper aren’t merely the first work — often, they’re the best work.
Haynes Galleries is located at 91 Main Street, Thomaston, Maine. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday and by appointment. For more information about this exhibit or to schedule a private viewing, call 207.354.0605 or 615.429.1727.