Haynes Galleries presents ‘Celebrating the Portrait as Art’

Essie’s Unicorn by Seth Haverkamp. Oil on Panel. 24 x 36 inches.

Essie’s Unicorn by Seth Haverkamp. Oil on Panel. 24 x 36 inches.

Haynes Galleries will usher in spring with ‘Celebrating the Portrait as Art,’ a diverse, well-curated collection of works by some of today’s most exciting contemporary Realists. ‘Celebrating the Portrait as Art’ is a credit to the genre, showcasing a range of styles from works that evoke the Dutch Golden Age to Impressionism and Photorealism, and a great depth of emotion. These are more than just pretty faces—more than an homage. Each is a narrative waiting to be told, a personal history waiting to unfold.

The portrait has perhaps the longest and most storied legacy in art history. Many of the most celebrated paintings in history, e.g., Mona Lisa, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Whistler’s Mother, are portraits, yet considered to be among the finest works of art of all time. These works transcend time and personal relationships, allowing the viewer to forge an instant, emotional connection. The painting becomes more than a portrait—it becomes an enduring piece of art. ‘Celebrating the Portrait as Art’ is filled with such works, evoking powerful narratives as universal as any landscape or still life.

“This show has an exciting mix of work by gallery favorites and young, innovative artists that are new to the gallery,” said gallery owner Gary R. Haynes. “Artists like Joseph Dolderer, Aaron Westerberg and Stephen Bauman are certainly technically gifted but their work is also creatively and expressively fresh. These works capture much more than a likeness. They capture mood, essence and emotion.”

For today’s top contemporary Realists, the portrait can address modern sensibilities and honor the legacy of the genre. Dolderer, a Studio Incamminati graduate and faculty member, relishes in the real and the present. Though he paints in a traditional style, his portraits are challenging, modern and utterly inviting. Westerberg’s work is a study in contrasts, at once timeless and timely, soft and arresting, straightforward and mysterious. His portrayals of women are hauntingly beautiful, while his beguiling, dark, back-to-the-viewer self-portrait recently received the First Merit Award in the Portrait Society of America’s ‘Outside the Box’ category. Bauman, an alumnus and instructor at the Florence Academy of Art, is a master draftsman and it shows in the faces of his subjects, which are perfectly rendered, almost otherworldly.

Suchitra Bhosle’s oil paintings have a loose, painterly style that adds to the motion and emotion of the works. Her luminous, sensual representations of women seem to shimmer with life and light. Bhosle, a Bangalore native who now calls California home, has been recognized by the Portrait Society of America and Oil Painters of America.

Katie O’Hagan’s arresting, deeply nuanced portrayals of women captivate with their beauty and discomfit with their themes. True North begs more questions than it answers: a woman stands in solitude, staring off into the cold, gray distance. What is she contemplating? What drew her to the water’s edge? While her technique is second to none, the underlying idea of the piece, the mystery of it all, keeps the viewer coming back for more.
At the other end of the spectrum, T.J. Cunningham’s work evokes John Singer Sargent in the best possible way. His painterly portraits are both technically strong and emotionally insightful, making the viewer feel as though he knows the subject personally.

The exhibit will be on view from April 18 to May 24 at Haynes Galleries, on the Music Row Roundabout. An opening reception, free and open to the public, will take place on April 18 from 5-7:30 pm.