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    JAIME CORUM
    Website | Facebook

    I’ve talked to trainers, jockeys, gamblers, equine vets. But I don’t think I’ve met anyone who understands the anatomy of horses as well as Jaime Corum. The 43-year-old paints horses almost exclusively, conjuring stunningly realistic subjects. But Corum’s knowledge also goes into the metaphysical. She talks about the horse as archetype, as envoy of nature, as something vast. Her subjects canter through void, pose proudly in a lack of landscape, the precision with which Corum paints their bodies not diminishing but emphasizing their mystery. She’s had a long time to perfect her technique. By age 7, the Kentucky native was obsessed with horses in art. She became an artist by drawing horses, watching horse movies, reading the whole Black Stallion series. In art school — she completed a bachelor of fine arts at Bellarmine and a master’s in painting at UK — she branched out, exploring mixed-media collage, bookmaking, art history. “I love the period of the Surrealists and the Symbolists a lot,” she says. “Giving it a little extra mood or feeling is something I like to try to bring back into traditional horse painting.”

    Corum’s equine paintings at the Brown Hotel’s horse-themed art show, “From the Grandstand,” are up until June 16.


    Image: Jaime Corum


    Image: Jaime Corum


    Image: Jaime Corum


    Image: Jaime Corum

    RICHARD SULLIVAN
    Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

    With his paintings of sports stars in The Washington Post, stadiums and the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s permanent collection, 29-year-old Louisville native Richard Sullivan is known for his watercolors of athletes. “I consider horses athletes, too,” says the former professional baseball player. “I was just interested in painting the muscles, and there are so many colors, so many possibilities with movement.” He mentions Degas’ equine paintings, and the Impressionist fascination with horses, but the historical precedence for his work doesn’t weigh too heavy on his mind. He’s just happy to get outside his human-centric comfort zone. “I like painting horses a little bit more than people,” he says. “Their faces are different. I try to capture their eyes still, because they do have — when you see a picture of a horse race, you can tell they’re in this very intense competition. You can tell that in their eyes.”


    Image: Richard Sullivan, "Racing Horse #4"


    Image: Richard Sullivan, "Kentucky Derby"


    Image: Richard Sullivan, "Kentucky Derby 2"

     

    JEANEEN BARNHART
    ​Website | Facebook

    “My first passion is figure drawing,” Jeaneen Barnhart says. Her nude figures, often faceless, haunt their canvases, the outlines of their bodies scribbling outward. It was one of these nudes that got the 50-year-old into equine art. She had given a figurative piece to a co-worker who knew a representative of the Kentucky Derby Festival. When the KDF employee saw the artwork, they told Barnhart’s colleague they’d have to meet her. She started going to the track, taking photo after photo of racehorses, and spent a year practicing drawing and painting them. “I’m very passionate about drawing the human body, especially because of the anatomy and the muscles and the strength,” she says. “The horse was more difficult. I pulled up diagrams of the bones and the muscles and really studied how a horse runs and what the muscles look like in different positions of the stride.” In 1994, she and her twin sister designed the KDF poster — they went on to win the poster contest again in 1997, 2009 and 2014. 

    Barnhart will show work at Craft(s) Gallery and Mercantile April 7 to May 13.


    Image: Jeaneen Barnhart


    Image: Jeaneen Barnhart, "Trifection 2014"


    Image: Jeaneen Barnhart

     

    GEOFF CROWE
    Website | Facebook

    Geoff Crowe does it all. When I visit the 56-year-old in his workshop in Old Louisville, he shows me abstract sculptures, abstract paintings as long as dining tables and smaller portraits. When it comes to painting, there are two subjects to which Crowe keeps returning: ballet and horse racing. “This goes back to really where I got started and what I became known for when I first started painting, and that is movement,” he says. Both Thoroughbreds and ballet dancers exhibit grace, strength, precision in motion — perfect attributes for Crowe’s style, which is always tilting toward the abstract. He shows me a large painting of a horse race, which I mistake for a tree-lined landscape. “That’s great!” he says. “The stiffer I get — stiffer being more exact — the more horrific my work looks.”

    Crowe’s paintings and sculptures will show at the Mellwood’s Pigment Gallery from Derby Week through the end of May.


    Image: Geoff Crowe, "Night Race"


    Image: Geoff Crowe, "Race 17"

     

    DOUGLAS MILLER
    Website | Facebook

    The animals in Douglas Miller’s work occupy a liminal space where rules break down. A bear’s face half-covered in dark fur so rich that purple bleeds through, the rest of its face just the first tentative lines of an unfinished sketch. A vulture’s death stare gives way to a colorless neck. In “How we meet our history,” a black cat peers out of the frame with bright yellow eyes, the top of its head floating in white space, its body from the nose down not there at all, suggesting, perhaps, that by the time we are distant enough to see the past, it is too far gone to see much of anything. Horses fit perfectly into Miller’s strange world. “They are really odd-looking creatures,” the 43-year-old says. “They have weird proportions, these huge muscles in the upper legs coming down to really thin ankles and feet. That’s what draws me to them. I’m also really drawn to texture. A horse has that almost non-fur on their body, which really articulates their musculature and bone structure.”


    Image: Douglas Miller


    Image: Douglas Miller

    This originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe to Louisville Magazine, click here. To find your very own copy of Louisville Magazine, click here. 

    Cover photo: Richard Sullivan's "Kentucky Derby 2"

    Dylon Jones's picture

    About Dylon Jones

    Dylon Jones is a poet, essayist and journalist based in Louisville, Kentucky, where he serves as web editor of Louisville Magazine. His narrative journalism has earned him first-place awards in feature writing and profile reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2015, Sarabande Books awarded him the Flo Gault Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Tinderbox Poetry Journal and The Collagist.

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