Wildlife paintings - elephants in art
Brian Keith Stephens, “Promise You Never Make Me Eat Sardines,” 2020, oil and wax on cotton.

The Lyman Allyn Art Museum recently announced the opening of a new exhibition on highlighting the work of local Connecticut artist Brian Keith Stephens (b. 1973). “Almost True Tales” explores the artist’s fascination with animals as mythic symbols across time and culture. The exhibition will be on view through May 9, 2021.

Wildlife art
Brian Keith Stephens, “Your Dress Is A Curtain,” 2020, oil and wax on Canadian birch.

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Spread throughout three galleries, “Almost True Tales” will feature 18 large works of art. In vibrant, figurative paintings, Stephens draws on legends, fables and folk tales from around the world to invest his animal subjects with meaning and emotion, revealing a common cultural language that resonates with children and adults alike.

Wildlife art - flamingo and turtle
Brian Keith Stephens, “Perfect Romance,” 2020, 57 x 38 inches, oil and wax on cotton

“Growing up in Connecticut, I have always found animals as a vessel for depicting human emotion; I believe in many ways animals are capable of expressing human emotions in a way that is both understandable, mysterious and alluring,” says Stephens. “At the center of my work and life are these fascinations with myth, the spectrum of human passion, our kinship to the spirit of the wild animal, and the challenges of balancing the real with the fanciful. My art has been and continues to be my outlet for exploring these themes and conjuring up new ones.”

Peacocks in fine art painting
Brian Keith Stephens, “Who’s That Lipstick On The Glass,” 2020, oil and wax on cotton.

At a time when the omnipresent flow of information makes it harder than ever to identify what is true, Stephens’ work encourages viewers to recall the simple virtues embodied by animals in countless tales. These enduring folk wisdoms are a source of solace and a reminder that decency can prevail and help the world to heal in even the most difficult times.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome Brian Keith Stephens, an increasingly well-known and beloved artist from our region, for a solo exhibition here in the Lyman Allyn,” says Sam Quigley, Director at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. “No stranger to many aficionados beyond these climes, Stephens has shown his work frequently in New York, Palm Beach, Boston, Provincetown and other American cities, as well as in many important venues in Europe. Clearly, he is getting the widespread recognition he deserves, and we are very pleased to be able to share this cohesive body of work in our intimate galleries.”

Wildlife mixed media art
Brian Keith Stephens, “Not All The Songs Are Worth Singing,” 2020, oil and wax on cotton.

Stephens graduated from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in 1998. He then attended the Academie de la Grande Chaumier in Paris and, in 2004, received a Masters of Fine Art in Painting from the City College of New York. Since 2000, he has exhibited in solo shows and group exhibitions in the United States, Germany, France, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Bulgaria. His work is represented in private collections around the world. He lives and works in Old Lyme and Brooklyn, NY.

Wildlife paintings
Brian Keith Stephens, “My Lover Is Coming Home,” 2020, oil and wax on cotton.

For more details about “Almost True Tales,” please visit www.lymanallyn.org.

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