Haynes Galleries presents “Six Philadelphia Artists”
January 30 to February 28, 2015

NASHVILLE— The city of brotherly love is coming to Music City. Opening later this month, Haynes Galleries presents “Six Philadelphia Artists,” an exhibition of six contemporary realists based in Philadelphia. Bold portraits, still lifes, and landscapes by Kerry Dunn, Ellen Cooper, Joseph Dolderer, Lea Colie Wight, Alexandra Tyng, and Renée Foulks will be featured during this ensemble show. The exhibition begins January 30 and runs until February 28. It is free and open to the public.

Philadelphia has become a thriving contemporary art city in recent years. With numerous museums, galleries, and academies, the historic town has big city appeal without the price tag of New York, Boston, or San Francisco. Both established and emerging artists are setting up studios to create some of the boldest contemporary realists works seen today.

Some of the artists leading the charge are Kerry Dunn, Joseph Dolderer, and Lea Colie Wight. All three are graduates and instructors at Studio Incamminati, the Philadelphia painting school founded by internationally-renowned portrait artist Nelson Shanks. Each displays the mastery of traditional painting methods Incamminati is known for but also inject their work with a certain modern sensibility.

For Dunn, that modern sensibility means color. His portraits are filled with bold hues- magenta, teal, lime- other contemporary realists stay away from. He isn’t scared of being playful, either. Toto & I, a Best of Show winner at the Portrait Society of America’s International Portrait Competition, shows the artist at work, brush in hand as he studies his own features and those of his cat.

Lea Colie Wight is drawn to subjects that intrigue her, whether still life or portrait. But that’s only the beginning. “I start out with one painting in mind,” says Wight, “thinking I know my model, only to have the painting take on a life of its own.” As the painting unfolds, it becomes more complex, more direct, more powerful.

One of the most promising artists in Realism, Joseph Dolderer emphasizes the psychological state of his sitters. Dolderer goes into each painting with no preconceived ideas about its finished state other than a general sense of design, saying “I am more interested in painting the attitude of a person than just a likeness.”

But there’s plenty of talent outside of Studio Incamminati, too. Formally trained at Philadelphia’s Temple University, Ellen Cooper has an international reputation for her ability to capture the character of her subjects. Setting and environment are integral to Cooper’s work, where a bowl of fruit on a table or the twisted branches of a tree can reveal as much about the figure as their pose or facial expression.

Renée Foulks’ work is sublimely rendered and her subjects appear to vacillate between the present and the imaginary worlds she creates for them. Her paintings — some in vibrant color, others in greyscale — show a complete mastery of the craft. It’s no surprise that she’s received five prestigious Mellon Foundation grants since the 1980s. Foulks trained at the Moore College of Art and Temple University, and now teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.

A Philadelphia resident for most of her life, Alexandra Tyng uses her talent to paint portraits, still lifes, and landscapes with equal amounts of fervor and skill. Tyng will even combine genres by setting figures into scenic views, as in Star At The Edge. The fusion invites viewers to consider how the two fit together.

This exhibition is a rare opportunity for viewers to take in the work by some of Philadelphia’s— and the country’s— most exciting realists. Technical mastery, thoughtful painting, and modern flare unite these fine artists and bring Philly to Nashville.