Haynes Galleries presents
“The Still Life: Mundane to the Sublime”
January 31 to March 8, 2014
Reception: Friday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. January 31, 2014

NASHVILLE— In conjunction with the annual Antiques and Garden Show of Nashville, Haynes Galleries presents “The Still Life: Mundane to the Sublime”, a captivating collection of work by more than 30 artists who represent the best of the genre. The exhibit will be on view from Jan. 31 to March 8 at Haynes Galleries on the historic Music Row Roundabout. An opening reception will take place 5 to 8 p.m. January 31. The event is free and open to the public.

In the hands of Haynes Galleries’ talented artists, the mundane — a houseplant, a stack of books haphazardly piled on a shelf, even a few pairs of sneakers — somehow transcends the ordinary, begging the viewer to look more deeply. At the same time, these artists approach the precise arrangements and technical mastery of traditional still life — the sublime, if you will — with the reverence they deserve.

“The decisions behind what to paint can become too labored,” says gallery owner Gary R. Haynes. “Painting whatever is in front of you can be fresh and liberating. Mundane objects make beautiful paintings just as artfully designed arrangements make wonderful art. This exhibit presents the exciting contrasts.”

Take, for instance, Michael Theise’s tongue-in-cheek trompe l’oeil paintings. With such titles as “Key Notes” (a key beside a stack of $20 bills) and “Always Lucky” (more cash tucked behind an upside-down horseshoe), Theise’s oils are utterly playful — and seriously masterful. The same can be said for Philip Michelson, who takes nostalgic childhood favorites such as jacks, tin toys, and penny candy and renders them exquisitely.

Kerry Dunn, a faculty member of the painting school Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia, walks a fine line with his still lifes. At first glance, his depictions of toys and clowns are light and fun, but look a little closer and there’s a touch of shadow and melancholy.

For the painter Grace DeVito, still life is a study in duality. On the one hand, she can turn a pile of sneakers or a bottle of ketchup into something gallery-worthy. On the other, her more traditional work — a clutch of sumptuous peonies, an armful of deep red roses, a half-peeled orange — is an ode to time-honored techniques.

Nicholas M. Raynolds’ classical training is evident, but his are much more than pretty pictures. It’s no wonder his work is included in numerous national and international collections. Whether he turns his attention to something as practical as a latch or as textured and earthy as gourds, his work beckons viewers to look more closely — at his work and at the world around them.

So do Victoria Novak’s sensuous tableaux. On her canvases, velvety peaches, supple pears and plump grapes tumble out of a glass bowl, an embarrassment of riches; ripe, juicy figs perch upon a Classical pedestal like an offering to the gods.

Though he’s in his early thirties, Justin Wood is an old soul. His work shows a dedication to traditional methods, painting from direct observation in his New York studio. As a result, his painstakingly real still lifes evoke the Dutch masters in style and technical brilliance.

This exhibit is a celebration of the craft — from the mundane to the sublime. In each work, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. The unexpected becomes unexpectedly beautiful.