Haynes Galleries presents “Rooftops: Big Cities and Small Towns” featuring the work of Nicholas M. Raynolds and Bennett Vadnais March 14 to April 12, 2014

NASHVILLE— As the classic song goes, “On the roof, it's peaceful as can be / And there the world below can't bother me.” The Drifters were on to something. And so are the artists Bennett Vadnais and Nicholas M. Raynolds, whose paintings are featured in “Rooftops: Big Cities and Small Towns,” a vignette show that accompanies “The Landscape: Views and Variations.” All exhibits will be on view from March 14 to April 12 at Haynes Galleries, on the Music Row Roundabout.

This show within a show juxtaposes the vast urban landscape of New York, which Vadnais calls home, with the more intimate residential neighborhoods in Raynolds’ hometown of Asheville, N.C. The results are unexpected, compelling and surprisingly beautiful.

Vadnais’ work is an ode to city living — gritty scenes, carefully rendered with an attention to detail reminiscent of the Dutch Masters. He balances precision and emotion, permanence of place and transience of light. To familiarize himself with his subject, Vadnais does sketches and studies en plein air and then returns to his studio, where he painstakingly crafts each painting in layer upon layer of translucent acrylics. In his hands, post-industrial landscapes become luminous works of art.

Raynolds coaxes drama and intrigue from the quiet neighborhoods of Asheville. His is an unvarnished landscape, complete with crowded rooftops and power lines, weathered paint and back alleys. Though his subjects are imperfect, his technique is anything but. His brushstrokes evoke motion and emotion. His mastery of light imbues his paintings with longing and mystery. His spaces are at once real and immediate, raw and wistful. Each painting beckons the viewer to create his own narrative.

At Haynes Galleries, these rooftop scenes are real, immediate, raw and wistful. Vadnais and Raynolds turn their brushes to a perspective that is often overlooked — an oasis amid the chaos of day-to-day life. As The Drifters would say, “Right smack dab in the middle of town / I've found a paradise that's trouble proof / Up on the roof.”