Artist Spotlight: Bryan Haynes at Ober Anderson Gallery

By Christopher Reilly
In Culture

After two cancellations due to inclement weather, the Bryan Haynes exhibit will at last open at Ober Anderson Gallery in Kirkwood. Haynes—one of the state’s most distinguished artists—captures the Missouri farmlands, rolling hills and sturdy people of the land from a time gone by. The exhibit opens Friday, Jan. 3, from 6-9pm, with a reception featuring food, drink and live bluegrass music by Abraham Mohler and band.

"Shingle Makers" by Bryan Haynes Courtesy of the Artist

“Shingle Makers” by Bryan Haynes
Courtesy of the Artist

While Haynes’ work has its own individual style, the resemblance to the WPA style from the New Deal in the 1930s is unmistakable. But there is something modern about his work as well, a level of detail and scope that Haynes utilizes to expand the narrative and heighten the drama. In Haynes’ “Birdman,” a man stands in the woods while the trees tower above and the woodlands expand ever outward, illustrating man’s tiny place on the planet. That type of grandiosity—whether in scope or emotion—weaves its way throughout Haynes’ work.

Birdman by Bryan Haynes Courtesy of the Artist

“Birdman” by Bryan Haynes
Courtesy of the Artist

As a commercial artist, Haynes’ work has been seen in everything from international advertising campaigns, national magazines, posters and CD covers. He also counts book covers among his credits, including Agatha Christie covers for “Scarlett,” the “Gone With the Wind” sequel. He’s also received his share of awards from The Society of Illustrators-New York, Communication Arts and Graphis-Switzerland, to name just a few.

Clyford by Bryan Haynes Courtesy of the Artist

“Clyford” by Bryan Haynes
Courtesy of the Artist

ALIVE magazine caught up with Haynes and talked about his upcoming exhibit.

ALIVE: What can people expect to see in your upcoming show?
Haynes: At the show on Friday and continuing through January viewers will see sketches and drawings as well as finished paintings and prints, hopefully showing processes that will be interesting.

ALIVE: Has there been a defining moment in your career?
Haynes: Freelancing as a commercial artist—taking every kind of assignment that came my way—created a shotgun approach that has served me well over these 30 years. Now it seems, by sheer demand, a more singular direction has emerged, one still of storytelling, but of paintings on canvas.

ALIVE: What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Haynes: Beauty: Interesting and thoughtful paintings that draw the viewer in and have layers of meaning. I don’t intend to change the world, but perhaps if someone sees their world in a bit different way after seeing my work, that’s enough.

ALIVE: Much of your work seems to harken to earlier, simpler times, whether it’s your historical work, landscapes, portraits, or illustrations. What motivates you to explore the past in this way?
Haynes: I think I am only a small part of a larger movement—one that has a trajectory that parallels our digital world—and quite because of it but separate and opposite, we need the contrast and warmth of the handmade, the local, the familiar.

The Bryan Haynes exhibit opens Friday, Jan. 3, from 6-9pm at Ober Anderson Gallery, 101A W. Argonne, Kirkwood, Missouri, right across from the Kirkwood Train Station. The exhibit runs throughout January. For more information, visit the Ober Anderson Gallery website.

Follow Christopher Reilly on Twitter @ChristoReilly

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