Monday, February 11, 2013

not your ordinary figure show...

The bi-annual Chocolate, Champagne and Jazz Figure Show features 1930's style gypsy jazz by Rue de la Pompe, and the exhibition includes a company of accomplished artists, some familiar and some new to Lynden Gallery patrons: Eva Bender, Jeff Bye, Robert Patierno, Janette Toth, Mike Tymon, and Fran Williams. Central to the exhibition is the work of Clarity Haynes, of Brooklyn, New York.  

I first met Clarity Haynes at her thesis show in 2003 at the esteemed Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art in Philadelphia.  It stopped me in my tracks with it's honest reality, rendered with such tenderness and joy.  Yes, joy!

I grew up like most young women, being told to stand up straight, tuck my tummy in, and contort my body into Barbie-like form with underwire bras and control-top panty hose.  Mom, after all, was just beginning to emerge from an era of pointed bras, corsets and girdles herself.  Any kind of reassurances to her first born - a daughter - were overwhelmed by my perception that what really mattered was what other people thought about my appearance. 

Only as an adult did I become aware of beauty in different shapes and forms, and begin to embrace my own changing form as more than merely an acceptable means for getting me around in this world.  It housed my spirit, sheltered my soul, brought life into this world, provided nurture for others, and will ultimately be shed as I spread my wings into the next life.  Why shouldn't I cherish the scars, wrinkles, and fading that come with age?  I've earned it!  

Clarity's work has intrigued me for over a decade, and I was thrilled when she agreed to show her work for our mid-winter figure show.  Though I'm sensitive to the fact that her figures may be startling to some, it is my hope the viewer will walk away with the same sense of having witnessed something important.  Perhaps the juxtaposition of what may at first glance be considered with revulsion, will give way to the spirit of its rendering.

As an "exercise in draughtsmanship" life drawing has been an important element in honing ones drawing and painting skills since the early Greeks.  "Fundamental to success is training the eye to look analytically, as opposed to seeing something is there without really taking it in."   The value lies in learning to see, both for the artist and the viewer.  Art provides a canvas for conversation and begs people to think beyond their assumptions.

"not your ordinary figure show: body image" opens Friday, February 15th with an artists reception from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.  A $5.00 cover is requested at the door in support of the band.  For more about the artists and this exhibition, visit our website  The exhibition will continue through April 6th.