There is something magical about the night. Maybe it is the way that the ominous silence makes even the slightest noises ring out. Or maybe it’s the way that the darkness obscures even the most banal figures, casting them in dramatic shadows. But, undeniably, once the sun goes down, things seem to get a little more interesting.
This special feeling has inspired countless works of art, often referred to as “nocturnes.” While nocturnes are generally pieces of music inspired by the twilight, the term can also describe visual art — perhaps most famously applied by James Abbott McNeill Whistler to explain his own work. In “Linden Frederick & Seven Contemporary Guest Artists,” the latest exhibition at Franklin’s Haynes Galleries, it’s clear that nighttime magic can be captured and evoked through contemporary painting.
The show features several nocturnes by its namesake, a Maine-based realist painter whose work has been professionally exhibited since the 1980s. His latest is a series of hyperrealistic oil paintings that could be set anywhere in America, all imbued with the magic of the night. In Vacant, for instance, the light from a small suburban garage is dwarfed by a massive evening sky — seeming to capture the moment that dusk turns into night. Further highlighting the inspirational power of the darkness, Frederick’s work in the show is accompanied by tailored prose.
“The centerpiece of the exhibition is Frederick’s Vacant, a painting created during a special cross-genre collaboration,” according to press material from Haynes Galleries. “Frederick began a new series of nocturnal landscapes and a handful of the country’s best writers were asked to put into words what sprang forth when they viewed a painting. Novelist Ann Patchett, author of the award winning Bel Canto, was paired with Vacant, a nighttime view of a home seen from afar. Frederick, as with many of his paintings, manages to create a scene that is crisp, foreboding, calm and enticing.”
In addition to Frederick’s work, the show features pieces from other contemporary artists, including Alan Feltus, Alan Magee, Alyssa Monks, Guillermo Muñoz Vera, Brian Rutenberg, Tula Telfair and Jesus Villarreal. “Linden Frederick & Seven Contemporary Guest Artists” will be on display until June 29.
Haynes Galleries is located in Franklin.