Haynes Galleries presents “Michael Theise: Believe It or Not!”
Through the End of the Summer

FRANKLIN— Seeing is believing at Haynes Galleries’ latest vignette exhibition this summer, “Michael Theise: Believe It or Not!” As a master of the trompe l’oeil style, Theise creates highly detailed and visually enticing paintings that play with ideas of history, money, and even painting itself. This collection of Theise’s work is on view through the end of the summer at Haynes Galleries in Franklin.

Trompe l’oeil painting is a time-honored genre. Theise embraces and honors the genre with every stroke of his brush but injects cleverness into each composition. The result is fine art that is both serious and fun, well crafted and entertaining.

Theise’s technical abilities are unrivaled. The grain of the wood and weathered paint of an old board is meticulously reproduced. A scrap piece of masking tape begs to peeled away.

But with all his technical prowess, Theise’s true talent comes in how he arranges each composition so each element plays off the others. Tattered playing cards, old postcards, antiquated money, and childhood boardgames are frequent items. The secret is in how Theise combines these seemingly-unrelated items. In “The Fruit of Whose Labor” a letter addressed to American still life painter Raphealle Peale is stuck to a postcard reproduction of one of his fruit still lifes; behind the postcard are two envelopes with stamps featuring the same fruit.

Theise came to trompe l’oeil while studying under Ken Davies, a master of the genre. He experimented with realism while under Davies’ tutelage, primarily by painting wildlife with an intense attention to detail. A passion for realism was born and he segued naturally into trompe l’oeil. Captivated by the new direction of his painting, Theise dedicated himself to the long-storied genre.

Over the course office career Theise has been recognized nationally for his compositions. “People look at trompe thinking it’s been pushed to its limit,” Theise says. “But I’m always looking for ways to take it further.” He has exhibited extensively for the past two decades, including several solo exhibitions at galleries and museums. He continues to produce some of the most innovate, crisp trompe l’oeil work in the United States today.