01.19.20 Artists,Press

Clarity Haynes in The New Yorker

Clarity Haynes

The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but torsos are even more telling in this mid-career New York artist’s new group of intimate, numinous paintings. In this show, titled “Altar-ed Bodies,” Haynes explores the possibilities of feminist figuration in cropped compositions whose subjects are frankly depicted, in frontal poses, with their scars, stretch marks, and sagging flesh. Their tattoos and jewelry assume a talismanic significance, which continues in a companion series—its genre might be called “queer trompe-l’oeil”—portraying collagelike shrines. In “Rainbow Altar (Spring Into Summer),” from 2019, colorful textiles, a photo of an ancient Medusa relief, and an image of a detail of Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” join a goddess-shaped candle and a pink geode. Haynes deftly uses oil painting, a medium long associated with patriarchal religion and aristocratic portraiture, to represent a syncretic counter-spirituality, and the people who might practice it, in reverently unvarnished detail.

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