Llewellyn exhibit to open at Butler

Published: 12:00 AM, Thu March, 7 2019

Staff report


An exhibition of paintings by celebrated California artist Kevin Llewellyn, who is a native of Columbiana, will open Sunday at the Butler Institute of American Art and run through May 5.

The artist will be at the museum from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Titled “Kevin Llewellyn: The Devil’s Valentine,” the exhibition will be in the Finnegan-Hynes Gallery on the museum’s second floor.

It consists of more than 30 original works of art, on loan from a myriad of private collections around the world, and is part of the museum’s 100th anniversary celebration schedule.

The assemblage of mainly oil and graphite works spans Llewellyn’s life, from his early elementary school days to paintings that are fresh off the easel, and have yet to be seen by the public.

The figure has been Llewellyn’s main muse, which he brings to life with a haunting and erotic quality, while demonstrating an appreciation for 17th century academic realism.

In the exhibition at the Butler, the viewer will see realistic portraiture, still lifes and symbolism, with juxtaposed elements and dark subject matter. Llewellyn’s use of extreme lights and darks awakens a sense of the macabre.

Louis Zona, executive director and chief curator of the Butler, praised Llewellyn as a natural and unique artistic talent.

“Llewellyn is proof positive that talent will always shine forth,” said Zona. “A contemporary master, Llewelyn is one of those very rare talents who has created his own universe and is able to share that world with us in works of art which inspire, amuse, haunt and marvel. Not since a young Dali appeared on the scene have we seen such invention with the pen and brush. This breathtaking exhibition will assuredly stay with you for the long haul.”

Llewellyn was born in 1978, and attended the Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida.

His artworks are in top collections internationally, including commissioned works for pop diva Madonna, film-director Guy Ritchie, Kat Von D and many others. Llewellyn also illustrated the cover of Nikki Sixx’s album “This Is Gonna Hurt.”

The Butler, 524 Wick Ave., is open from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission and limited parking are free.