Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Curator's Notes: Spotlight on Clarity Haynes

Clarity Haynes and Beth Gersh-Nesic, in front of Clarity's Robin, 2015
Stout Projects, March 2016

Clarity Haynes has so much to celebrate this fall: two solo exhibition back-to-back.  Clarity Haynes: Bearing Witness, The Breast Portrait Project, 1998-Present,  September 7 through October 15, at Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA,  and Clarity Haynes: Baba Na Gig, November 13, 2017-February 16, 2018, at Kniznick Gallery, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA.  In between both, she will exhibition with Bosom Bodies.  Hurray!  

Clarity Haynes: Bearing Witness, The Breast Portrait Project, 1998-Present
Payne Gallery, Moravian College, Bethlehem, PA (installation)

Clarity is another inspiration for this Bosom Bodies, because she and I sent a proposal to Professor Diane Radycki, director of the Payne Gallery, for an exhibition on health issues addressed in art. October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) was available too.  We thank Professor Radycki for accepting our project for the Payne Gallery and we thank David Leidlich, assistant director, for his wonderful installation. As you can see in these photos, most of the works are Clarity's gigantic portraits.  The smaller ones are view on the second floor balcony along with videos on Clarity's work and tablets to read the sitters' entries in The Breast Portrait Project Book.  

Clarity Haynes, Breast Portrait, 2014

For our Bosom Bodies, Clarity selected Breast Portrait, a small oil on canvas that depicts a woman who has undergone a mastectomy.  This portrait examplifies her Breast Portrait Project which began with the artist's self-portrait and then expanded to drawing and painting other women's torsos at women's fairs and in Clarity's studio.  She discovered that these intimate sittings and her sensitive renderings truly touched the sitters deeply.  It gave them an opportunity to  reflect on how they felt about their bodies.  For some, they expressed a sense of healing.  The sitters wrote down their thoughts in The Breast Portrait Project Book, which has been digitized for reading at the Payne Gallery exhibition. One of the artists in Bosom Bodies, Wilhelmina Grant, sat for her breast portrait, which was exhibited in Radical Acceptance, at Tabla Rasa, Brooklyn, NY, in February -March 2011.  I met Clarity and Wilhelmina through this exhibition when we both participated on a panel called "The Feminist Breast," part of the College Art Associate Conference in 2011.   

Clarity Haynes, Janie, 2015 in The Outwin 2016.
Smithsonian, National Portrait Gallery,

Clarity's work is also part of The Outwin 2016: American Portraits Today which has been on tour in the US this year.  From October 6, 2017 through January 7, 2018, it will be on view at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO.  The Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition "celebrates excellence and innovation, with a strong focus on the variety of portrait media used by artists today."  Organized by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC., the funding comes from an endowment left to the museum by Virginia Outwin Boochever, who was a passionate docent at the NPG.  Bosom Bodies congratulates Clarity for this honor and for being part of this outstanding show.  

Clarity Haynes, Breast Portrait Triptych, 2002

Also,  if you find yourself in Philadelphia, please visit the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art's museum where Clarity's triptych is on display upstairs.  More exhibitions are in Clarity Hayne's future. Please consult her website to keep abreast (pun intended) of these announcements.

Bosom Bodies is a New York Arts Exchange project.  For more information, please contact the curator, Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, director and owner of NYAE: or

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