Cynthia Kelly Overall, "Fifty-One Shades of Gray: Still Life in the Dutch Manner"

Cynthia Kelly Overall Exhibition promo image



WheelHouse Art is pleased to present Cynthia Kelly Overall's Fifty-One Shades of Gray...Still Life in the Dutch Manner. 

This exhibition opens with a reception for the artist on Friday, August 18, 6:00 - 8:00pm, with a talk with the artist at 7:00pm. The exhibition continues through September 30, 2023.

Overall is a Bardstown, Kentucky artist well known for her oil paintings depicting rural landscapes and pastoral scenes. Her work holds an unmistakable luminosity and technical application reminiscent of Old Dutch masterworks with just a hint of a Kentucky accent.

Overall’s latest work focuses her attention to another the artist's loves, Dutch Golden Age Still Lifes, a popular movement that emerged in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age. These artworks typically featured meticulously arranged compositions of objects, fruits, flowers, food, and various other items.

The still life genre allowed Dutch artists to demonstrate their technical skill and artistic creativity, while also reflecting the societal and cultural values of the time. These paintings often showcased a wide range of symbolic elements, representing themes like transience, wealth, vanity, and the passage of time.

Overall's work follow closely with the work by Willem Claeszoon Heda (b. 1593/1594, d. 1680/1682) whose works were characterized by their remarkable attention to detail, masterful rendering of textures, and a subtle play of light and shadow. Heda was famous for his "ontbijtjes" (breakfast pieces), featuring luxurious objects, fine glassware, and sumptuous food, displaying his skill in capturing the opulence and refinement of the Dutch upper class during the 17th century. These paintings celebrated the flourishing trade and economic prosperity of the Dutch Republic during that era.

Like the Dutch masters before her, Overall's still lifes capture both the beauty of the natural world and the complexities of human existence in a rich and profound manner. 

"During the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, Amsterdam was one of the largest trading ports with the Eastern continents. So, in turn, there were many wealthy noble families in all of the Netherlands. These aristocrats were great collectors of objets d'art which played a large role in their social status. The religious subjects in painting had gone by the wayside, thanks to the French reformer, John Calvin. And thus came the new genres, which included domestic scenes, portraiture, landscape, and still life.
The still life painters adhered to certain rules to please their patrons' appetites. The first rule was that the set-up had to "read," meaning the objects had to relate to each other. Secondly, they used only one or two particular properties: metal, ceramic, glass, fabric, floral, organic, etc. And lastly, they frequently used chiaroscuro (extreme light/dark contrast) to make the objects stand out starkly.
The artists' success lay in their ability to accentuate the unique essence of each object. Thankfully, the works that have survived give us glimpses into their phenomenal world of brilliance." -- Cynthia Kelly Overall

Cynthia Overall received her Undergraduate degree from the University of Kentucky, and Master of Art and Master of Fine Art degrees from the Rosary Graduate School of Fine Arts, in Florence, Italy. Her work can be found in major collections worldwide. 


Still Life with English Gateleg Table 18c, Dutch Pipe and Bottle, English Pewter Mug 18c, Oil on panel, 24 x 30 inches


Still Life with Ovoid Dutch Wine Jug 17c, Pewter Plate 18c and Dutch Pipe , Oil on panel, 30 x 24 inches


Still Life with American Indian Burl Bowl 18c, Dutch flute, Italian Tapestry Table 16c, Oil on panel, 24 x 36 inches

Still Life with Chinese Kraak Porcelain Charger 17c. and English Porridger 18c., Oil on panel, 18 x 24 inches


Still Life with French Jug, Prevosts brought this jug from France to USA 1910, Oil on panel, 24 x 27 3/4 inches


Still Life with Iron Candle Spike and Miner's Croft , Oil on panel, 24 x 33 inches


Still Life with Delft Pitcher 17c, Pewter Mug 18c English, Linen Cupboard 19c American , Oil on panel, 24 x 21 inches


Still Life with Alexander Wyant Painting (1836-1892) American Tonalist, English Oak Side Table 18c, Dutch Wine Glass and Pipe, English Porridger 18c, Oil and collage on panel, 20 x 24 inches


Still Life with German Ceramic Mug, Rush Candle Holder and Glass Flagons , Oil on panel, 19 1/4 x 33 3/4 inches


Still Life with Glass Flute 17c. Dutch, Pewter and Flask 19c. American , Oil on panel, 24 x 36 inches


Still Life with Pewter Stein and Clay Pipe, Dutch 18c., Oil and collage on panel, 18 x 18 inches


Still Life with Tulips - Abraham Mignon (1640-1679),  Rush Light Taper Holder 18c, Pewter Collection 18c. , Oil on panel, 12 x 24 inches