Born 1971 in McAllen, Texas. Lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Clarity Haynes is known for her long-standing explorations of the torso as a site for painted portraiture. Works in her Breast Portrait Project, always painted from life and usually monumental in scale, have focused on themes of healing, trauma, and self-determination. While the bodies tell the intimate stories of other people, a recent series of altars are self-portraits of sorts, made up of mementos and power objects collected by the artist over decades. Feminist and queer craft practices are often honored in her work. Bright colors, lively compositions and multiple narratives conjoin in the depictions of both bodies and altars.
Clarity Haynes received her MFA from Brooklyn College and a CFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, Denny Dimin Gallery, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, the Ackland Art Museum in Chapel Hill, and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. Her work has been discussed in publications like The New York Times, Hyperallergic, Art in America, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Art Forum, Juxtapoz Magazine, and Beautiful/Decay Magazine.
After a Sexual Assault, an Artist Paints Women Who Can’t Be Knocked Down
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.
Rendered in a rainbow of vibrant colors, Clarity Haynes’s portrayals of queer, heavy, and disabled bodies reimagines the white box as a communal space that allows for the possibility of healing.
Nicky Nodjoumi’s dreamy serial paintings; Albert Oehlen’s “mirror paintings”; Clarity Haynes portraits of breasts; Kim Tschang-Yeul’s abstract brand of Pop Art.
As a lesbian woman, artist Clarity Haynes is aware that her “contributions to culture are likely to be erased as I am doubly marginalized”. However, her paintings of torsos and altars, which play a cathartic role both on her, the people who model for her, and the audience, will go down in history. With the aim to promote peace, empower the marginalized and fight the patriarchy, her beautifully honest, raw and truthful artworks serve ulterior purposes of healing, self-acceptance and love. Currently exhibiting at New York City’s Denny Dimin gallery, we sit down with the artist to talk about gender identity, sexuality, censorship, beauty and the healing properties of art.
The art world returns from winter break.
Each week, we search New York City for the most exciting and thought-provoking shows, screenings, and events. See them below.
“The Altar: Threshold for Representation and Activation” was a gallery talk between Kay Turner and Clarity Haynes on January 18, 2020 at Denny Dimin Gallery. The talk accompanied Clarity Haynes’s exhibition Altar-ed Bodies.
Denny Dimin Gallery & New Discretions