I have an unquenchable thirst for photorealism, and I prefer to follow and support local artists. I am therefore grateful to Carol Stein at Cumberland Gallery for introducing me to Nashville artists of whom I have grown particularly fond: Robert Durham, Jeff Danley, Ron Porter, Marilyn Murphy, Red Grooms, and Barry Buxkamper. I enjoy pieces by each, but the painting that speaks to me in a unique fashion is Listening by Jeff Danley.
The body language in Listening is ethereal yet palpable. I see and hear tranquility but also angst; I see beauty but a moodiness and chaos just a step away as “Hanna” leans into the wall. It is at once simple yet so complex. I imagine her having just completed a conversation for which she seeks physical support from a barren wall on Santorini while she gathers herself, listening to her subconscious as she processes a conversation just completed with her lover.
Listening predictably attracts attention—a fixation—when friends see it for the first time. The same reaction is apparent on second and third visits. A visual polarity. And eyes that never stray from Listening belong to Jeff’s East Nashville studio mate Bob Durham, who gazes across my living room from his Privacy Fence self-portrait. I sense both a quiet observer as well as a guardian; it is easy for me to hear Bob consoling “Hanna” and offering her reassurance.
I first met Jeff on a Saturday when he delivered Vortex to the gallery. I saw our daughter as the figure in the painting and was mesmerized by the expressiveness. That single Danley hung in my home until Listening.
Beyond the character and unique mood of Listening, Jeff was born missing his right arm below the elbow, but in addition to his exquisite painting, he is a musician—a drummer. One cannot help but fall in love with this guy, right?
Jeff has masterfully captured my imagination as well as all who have leaned in and listened.
Artist Bio: Jeff Danley
Jeff Danley grew up in Georgia, Florida, and California. He now lives in Nashville where he has worked as a professional drummer and as an art director, set decorator, and prop master for television commercials and music videos.
A self-taught artist, he has been painting full time since 1991, and his work has been in numerous juried, invitational, and gallery shows across the country. His paintings have been featured in many regional and national publications, including New American Paintings, Oranges and Sardines, The Oxford American, and Nashville Arts Magazine.