Haynes Galleries presents “Carl Sublett Retrospective”
May 24 to July 13, 2013
Reception: Friday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 24, 2013

NASHVILLE. — Haynes Galleries is pleased to present a retrospective of works by master watercolorist Carl Sublett. The exhibit will run May 24 to July 13 at Haynes Galleries, in the historic Music Row Roundabout. An opening reception will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on May 24. The event is free and open to the public.

Sublett, who died in 2008 at the age of 89, breathed motion and texture into his watercolors. His paintings are like love letters — each brushstroke a carefully crafted sentence; each painting a complex, poetic narrative. He flourished in the rural, natural solitude of Tennessee and the coast of Maine, each of which had a unique quality of light that imbued his work.

His paintings — overgrown wooden fences, weathered seaside cottages, work-worn fishing boats — evoke the expressiveness of Andrew Wyeth’s work. The resemblance is no surprise — Sublett spent summers in his wife’s hometown of Port Clyde, Maine, just across the way from “Eight Bells,” N.C. Wyeth’s studio. Wyeth was an influence on Sublett’s art, as were Homer, Sargent, Benson and the Maine landscape.

Sublett’s style and emotion speak to gallery owner Gary R Haynes, who specializes in American realism of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. As an aspiring artist, Haynes studied under Sublett at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

“His watercolors are wonderful, and he gave me a lot of insight on how to use the medium in unconventional ways,” Haynes recalls. “He would come back from Maine in the summers with a trunk load of spectacular watercolor paintings. He was a great artist and a great teacher.”

Sublett once said, “the true value of a man’s art, I believe, does not depend upon the capacity with which it is received by others, but the degree of personal conviction exercised in a lifetime of creating it. Because I believe no statement is too small to make, when I have something to say I put it down immediately and try not to concern myself with the dimension of the outcome. No matter how ambitious the effort, no painting is ever more than a fragment of the whole, if I look for too much, I may lose all.”

Clearly, these were words he lived by. As a boy, he drew the coal trains near his home in Lackey, Kentucky. After serving in World War II, he enrolled at the University Study Center in Florence, Italy and received the Citizens Award for his artwork from the people of Florence. After returning to the United States, he worked as an engineering draftsman, a newspaper artist, and an artist and assistant manager of an engraving firm, all the while pursuing his personal passion for painting. He was a professor and taught painting at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville until his retirement in 1982.

In the 1960s and 70s, his painting career flourished. He became a founding member of the art group, “The Knoxville Seven,” and won several prestigious national awards. In 1976, he was elected into the National Academy of Design, and in the years that followed his work was included in prominent national and international exhibitions, as well as major retrospectives.

Sublett’s colleague Donald Kurka, a painter and photographer who served as head of the Department of Art at the University of Tennessee, eloquently sums up the artist’s life and work:

“Viewing his life’s work in panorama, one is struck by its diversity on one hand, and its logical continuity on the other. His art is a rich visual travelogue seen through his eye, mind, and spirit. It is both an outer journey to places real and seen, and an inner journey shaped by his sensitive and perceptive insights. Viewed as a whole, it is a consummately beautiful odyssey. His life and work are the true sum of the man. In the end, they are one and the same.”