THOMASTON – As proprietor of Haynes Galleries, Gary Haynes has a pretty simple mission.
“What we’re trying to do is show the work of some of the top people in the country who do the best representational work,” he said. “This is traditional realism, and I’ve spent a lot of time looking all over the country for the best people I can find.”
The latest exhibition at Haynes Galleries, on view for another 10 days through Aug. 31, is titled “New Works: New Directions.”
American realism has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th century, and many of its purveyors found their creative drive in Maine: Robert Henri, Edward Hopper and Winslow Homer most obviously.
This show features contemporary work by artists less well known around here: Nicholas M. Raynolds, Grace DeVito, Bennett Vadnais, Milixa Moron, Adrian Gottlieb, Martin Arnold, Seth Haverkamp, Justin Hess, Jeanne Mackenzie, Michael Theise and Gail Wegdosky. Some are established, others are emerging.
Haynes characterized their work, collectively, as “honest, reflective and thought-provoking.”
Each is a skilled painter, and master of technique and craft. Each also conveys mood, emotion and feeling.
“It’s much more than pretty pictures,” Haynes said, leading a tour of the gallery, which is housed in the Federal-style Captain William Singer House, built in 1822, on Main Street.
He pointed to a piece by Haverkamp, who won the People’s Choice Award in the 2013 Portrait Society of America Competition. It’s called “Essie’s Headdress,” and depicts a portrait of the artist’s daughter, looking directly at the viewer.
Gregory Mortenson’s “Self-Portrait in Russian Hat” looks old-school, from a previous century. It shows the painter with a thick beard, winter coat and heavy hat pulled halfway down his ears. His gaze toward the ground below looks hard and cold.
Stephen Scott Young’s “Claudia’s Grandpa” shows an older gentleman, well-dressed and dapper, seated on a built-in wooden porch bench with the sun splashing over his shoulder. He is looking straight ahead, his head sideways to the viewer. His white hat is pulled down to the bridge of his nose, and he’s holding a thick cigar between weathered fingers that rest on his knee. His image connotes dignity and grace.
Also through the end of August, Haynes is showing the work of New England realist painter Cindy House, who makes pastel landscapes.
She attempts to capture what is left of America’s untouched landscape. “With so much of the American landscape being destroyed or under development today, it’s important for landscape painters to document the remnants of the natural world that still remain,” House writes in Art Journey America Landscapes: 89 Painters’ Perspectives. “To paint the beauty of the land … captures an image for the viewer to contemplate.”
House grew up in Rhode Island and studied wildlife biology at the University of Maine. Many of her pastels portray Maine subjects. Among her skills, she has the ability to evoke senses other than vision with her work. Her pastels also conjure the odor of mudflats and the sounds of gulls crying.
House’s work is included in museum and corporate collections across the Northeast. She is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America and the Society of Animal Artists.
In September, Haynes keeps the Maine connections strong with “Maine Impressions,” which will include a selection of work by impressionist painter Roger Dale Brown. It will feature plein air paintings that Brown completed this summer in Maine, as well as a few from his visit last year.
The show opens Sept. 6.
A Tennessean, Brown spent last summer on the Maine coast and returned this year, exploring both the coast and inland locations.
He and Haynes have been friends many years. Haynes also operates a gallery in Tennessee, where he lives when not in Maine. He has painted with Brown, taken classes from him and followed his career both near and far.
“Roger is the epitome of the mantra ‘paint 1,000 paintings and you will become a better artist,”‘ Haynes said in a statement announcing the show. “His commitment and drive have led him to achieve greatness.”
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be reached at 791-6457 or: